WARNING: This post contains graphic images depicting a severely injured individual.
The National Assembly held a session today in which it declared the Communal Constituent Assembly (CCA) announced by Maduro last week to be unconstitutional, Today’s measure by the country’s legislature becomes the formal reply of the legislative branch to the measure, which opposition leaders have criticized over the last week as an attempt by Maduro to create a tailor-made Constitution to cement his dictatorial rule.
Deputy Omar Barboza summarized the National Assembly’s opinion of the CCA by saying:
It is more a PSUV National Assembly than a Constituent [Assembly] that would truly answer to public interest.
Maduro unexpectedly announced the creation of the CCA at a rally in Caracas on Monday. As described by Maduro, nothing like the CCA exists anywhere in the Constitution. While Article 347 of the Constitution gives the people of Venezuela alone the power to convene a Constituent Assembly in order to draft a new Constitution, Maduro has argued over the past week that he, too, has the power to convene the body/
The last time that Venezuela saw a Constituent Assembly was in 1999. Hugo Chavez, who had recently been elected as president, put the creation of the assembly to a referendum vote, which is what the opposition today argues must happen. However, Maduro and the PSUV have so far dismissed the calls for a referendum, and have instead chosen to dictate the birth of the mechanism.
Speaking at the National Assembly today, deputy Luis Florido stressed the egregious nature of trying to impose a constituent assembly without consulting the people through a referendum:
He wants to create a constituent [assembly] without the people to impose the socialism of the 21st century [another name for chavismo] through force. Simply put, the people are spectators in this proposal from Nicolas Maduro.
Florido also argued that Venezuelans would not allow Maduro and the PSUV to succeed in their quest to reshape the country to their linking:
We are going to fight to defend our nation, which will not yield.
Opposition Will Attempt March to Supreme Court Tomorrow
The opposition will attempt to march to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) [Supreme Court] in Caracas tomorrow in the latest in a series of marches that began in early April. All previous attempts by the opposition to march to the headquarters of regime institutions have been met with violent repression by state authorities and pro-regime militias.
The name of the march is “Nuestro Escudo es la Constitucion” [The Constitution is Our Shield]. Opposition supporters will rally in eight points in Caracas starting at 10:00 AM before attempting the march.
Protester Hit by Gov’t Truck in Guarico
A 25 year old woman named Alix Wadskier Alvarez was hit by a vehicle and seriously injured at a protest in Calabozo, Guarico state. The vehicle was registered to the Instituto Venezolano de Seguros Socialies [National Institute of Social Services], which is a government agency. El Nacional reports that Alix was part of a group of farmers who were protesting against the lack of raw materials necessary to their work.
According to witnesses, the truck’s occupants were a government employee and an army sergeant.
While pictures from the scene show that Alix suffered what appear to be catastrophic head injuries, her status is unknown as of the writing of this post.
The video below shows the chaotic scenes moments after Alix was run over. Protesters overcome with anger smashed the empty vehicle while others attempted to tend to Alix:
Protesters later burned the vehicle and spray-painted the word “murderer” on it:
The video below shows Alix lying motionless on the ground and bleeding profusely. Some of the protesters are convinced that she is dead:
The images below show Alix still beneath the vehicle:
The two occupants of the vehicle were subsequently arrested by National Guard soldiers.
Almagro: Maduro’s Venezuela “Murderous Regime”
The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, spoke today on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, and took aim in particular at the lawlessness that characterizes the Maduro regime’s repression of the opposition protests that have shaken the country over the last month.
Speaking via video link to the National Assembly, Almagro said:
If they want to send someone to prison they arrest them, and if they want to torture them they do so with impunity. If they want to kill him, they kill him. It is a regime of terror.
Almagro said that any opposition supporter could be persecuted and arrested at any time as the regime comes under increased pressure, and said that the PSUV “have blood on their hands” over the approximately 41 deaths that have occurred as a result of the protests of the last month.
Calling the ongoing crisis “unprecedented” in Venezuela history, Almagro called on the Venezuelan people to “take the reigns of their future “ and for general, free and fair elections to be held in the country immediately.
Almagro also said that the OAS would not recognize the outcome of the Communal Constituent Assembly even if it were to take place. He continued by saying:
Venezuela is a dictatorship, and the defense of democracy is the central aspect of the rule of law and the fundamental pillar of international relations in the hemisphere (…) the problems facing Venezuelans only have a democratic solution, and what the people want is to express themselves through a vote.
Two Students Sent to Ramo Verde Military Prison
The regime’s continued used of military tribunals to sentence civilians to prison has claimed two more victims: a pair of students from Lara state who are now being held in the Ramo Verde Military Prison south of Caracas. Alejandro Adarfio, a mechanical engineering student at UNEXPO, and Katiuska Salon, a law student from the Universidad Fermina Toro in Barquisimeto, join Leopoldo Lopez and other political prisoners held in the prison.
The two were sent to the prison by a military tribunal.
The Maduro regime has increasingly turned to military tribunals to sentence civilians arrested for protesting, which is contrary to Venezuelan law. In Carabobo state alone, 54 individuals were sentenced by military tribunals to serve time in the 26 de Julio prison in Guarico state in the last week alone.
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