National Assembly legislators were unable to hold a scheduled session today after regime authorities blocked access to the legislative grounds throughout the day, citing a bomb threat made against the building.
The first reports that access to the building had been blocked surfaced on Twitter shortly before 7:00 AM. One of these reports said that approximately fifteen officers with the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (National Bolivarian Intelligence Service, SEBIN) had entered the building, allegedly looking for an explosive device.
Below, images from the scene this morning. These pictures show SEBIN officers (in ski masks) and officers with the National Bolivarian Police around the National Assembly:
As the day dragged on, National Guard soldiers were deployed to the area around the legislation to prevent people from entering the building:
Speaking on the event, Juan Guaido said that it was yet more evidence that the Maduro regime is “afraid” of the work that is being done by the National Assembly.
National Assembly deputy Juan Pablo Guanipa spoke to reporters out of the legislative building, and said:
What the Maduro dictatorship is trying to do is stop the National Assembly from exercising its powers which are granted to it by the Constitution. We have the responsibility to try to access the [National Assembly].
Supreme Court Calls for Prosecution of Four More Deputies
The Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Supreme Tribunal of Justice, TSJ), Venezuela’s apex court, issued a ruling this afternoon calling on Maduro’s Constituent Assembly to strip the parliamentary immunity of four opposition lawmakers so that they may face prosecution.
The targeted deputies are Miguel Pizarro, Carlos Paparoni, Franco Casella, and Winston Flores.
According to the TSJ, the deputies are accused of committing the following crimes over their alleged involvement in the events of April 30:
Treason against the homeland, conspiracy, instigating insurrection, civil rebellion, concierto para delinquir [this roughly translates into “getting together to commit a crime”], usurpation of powers, public instigation to disobey the law and continuous hatred.
Since April 30, the Maduro regime has unleashed a new wave of political persecution against opposition deputies. The number of deputies accused of crimes relating to the events of April 30 now stands at thirteen.
According to Venezuelan law, only the National Assembly can vote to impeach a sitting legislator.
Pompeo Meets Lavrov in Russia
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a meeting today with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov in the resort town of Sochi, on the coast of the Black Sea.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Pompeo said that “the time has come” for Maduro to leave power so that “the suffering of the Venezuelan people will end”, and that he hoped that Russia would “support” that position.
Lavrov seemed to in fact not support that position, since he said that no one can “install a democracy by force”. Lavrov also lamented what he considered to be the constant threats by the United States and opposition leader Juan Guaido against Maduro, which he qualified as having “nothing to do with democracy”.
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