Constituent Assembly deputy Diosdado Cabello said late yesterday that he was ready to launch a recall election that would see the opposition-controlled National Assembly dissolved, effectively destroying the country’s legislative branch. If carried out, the move would eliminate the now largely symbolic legislature, and with it any semblance of institutional balance in the Venezuelan government.
Calling any such recall effort “constitutional and politically correct”, Cabello said that the Constituent Assembly had already done all of the international consultations that it needed to do in order to determine if the recall was an option.
Cabello did not say when the recall might take place, or if he was determined to push the measure forward.
The National Assembly is Venezuela’s legislative branch, and it was been under the control of the opposition since its stunning December 6 2015 electoral victory. That day, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc handed the ruling PSUV party the biggest electoral defeat in its history, as it took control of the legislature for the first time in nearly two decades.
However, the PSUV was quick to react to neutralize the threat that the National Assembly now posed, and leaned heavily on the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ)–the nation’s top court, firmly under the control of the PSUV–to nullify every action taken by the legislature.
In March 2017, the TSJ ruling that the National Assembly was in permanent contempt, and granted itself full legislative powers. While the TSJ later walked back that decision, the ruling was the sparked that began the 2017 anti-government protest movement. Later that same year, Maduro orchestrated the creation of the Constituent Assembly, a body of hand-picked supporters and regime officials who now act as the de facto legislature.
National Assembly Deputy Wakes Up to SEBIN Siege
National Assembly deputy Tomas Guanipa awoke this morning to find his home surrounded by armed officers from the regime’s political police, the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional [National Bolivarian Intelligence Service] (SEBIN).
Guanipa, who is an outspoken critic of the Maduro regime, alerted his Twitter followers this morning of the heightened SEBIN presence around his home at approximately 10:00 AM this morning in a series of tweets:
In the last few days the SEBIN persecution has intensified, today SEBIN patrol cars have surrounded my home since 8:45 AM without any explanation
SEBIN officers with rifles outside of my home at this moment 10:25 AM
10:56 AM there are still SEBIN agents with rifles in front of my home
It is not clear at this time what prompted the SEBIN to surround Guanipa’s home.
Maduro Causes Stir with World Cup Comments
Yesterday, Maduro commented on France’s World Cup victory during a speech which he gave in Caracas. Maduro spoke on the composition of the French team, saying:
The French team looks like the African team. Actually, Africa won [the World Cup], the African immigrants who went to France.
Maduro then suggested that the fact that a majority of the French national team’s players are of African descent speaks to France’s colonial past:
How they’ve put down Africa! And France wins the World Cup thanks to African players, or the sons of Africans!
The comments reverberated through European news outlets, given the state of the migration debate on the continent.
Jean-Christophe Lagarde, a legislator in the French National Assembly and president of the Union des démocrates et indépendants (UDI) party, said today that he was going to file symbolic complaint over Maduro’s comments because, in his opinion, they constitute “inciting racial hatred”.
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