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Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz took her largest step away from the Maduro regime today by mounting a direct legal challenge against the Communal Constituent Assembly (CCA) from the Public Ministry, the government body that she heads. Diaz’s challenge comes via a formal request to the Constitutional Chamber of the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), Venezuela’s top court, to clarify its ruling earlier this week that Maduro did not need to put the matter of the CCA to a referendum vote.

Diaz called the ruling “a step back for human rights”, and said that the court’s finding that the matter of drafting a new national constitution did not necessarily have to be put up to a referendum stood contrary to the county’s “progressive” constitution.

Diaz said:

Our Constitution establishes progressive human rights. Under no circumstance can these be undermined.

Through her request from the court, Diaz is seeking clarification on the nature of sovereign power in Venezuela. According to the Constitution, sovereign power–that is, the power to make decisions about how the country operates–rests entirely with the Venezuelan people.

Diaz’s request asks the court “how” the people had transferred their sovereign power to the office of the President of the Republic and other government bodies, which is what the TSJ ruled yesterday. At the heart of the request is the observation that the TSJ’s ruling appears to do away with the right of the Venezuelan people to vote on matters that directly affect them.

Diaz has been distancing herself from the Maduro regime since earlier this year through a series of public statements criticizing the regime for its systemic violations of human rights. However, this is the first time that Diaz has mounted an open legal challenge against the regime.

VP Politician Charged by Military Tribunal

Gilber Caro, a National Assembly back-up deputy with the Voluntad Popular (VP) opposition party, has been charged with “betrayal of the fatherland” and stealing military equipment by a military tribunal after spending four months in detention.

Caro was arrested in January after soldiers from the country’s Anti-Coup Command stopped his vehicle in Carabobo state and allegedly found “weapons of war” in the trunk, including C-4 explosive.

Caro’s hearing before a military tribunal in Carabobo state today marks the first time in the four months since his detention that he has appeared before a judge.

Through his Twitter account, Caro’s relatives said today that they did not know what Gilber was going to appear before a tribunal today, and that they only found out about the fact through tweets after the hearing had taken place.

At the end of today’s hearing, the tribunal ordered Caro sent to the Tocuyito prison in Carabobo state. It is not clear at this time when Caro’s trial will begin.


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