Venezuela says it has put down uprising at army base

Posted August 07, 2017

What have the assembly members said?

"The government is trying to hide proof of Oderbrecht, proof of corruption and the violation of human rights", Ortega told reporters before leaving on the back of on a motorcycle.

President Juan Manuel Santos of neighboring Colombia called Saturday's removal of Luisa Ortega "the first dictatorial act" of an "illegitimate" assembly and vowed solidarity with the Venezuelan people.

On Saturday the pro-government body removed the dissident chief prosecutor from her post and ordered her to stand trial, confirming opposition fears that it would use its powers to root out critics of the government. "This is a dictatorship, what we are living in Venezuela".

Officials described the men in military fatigues and armed with assault rifles as "terrorists".

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The reference to Oderbrecht, a Brazilian construction company, was in regard to alleged bribes paid to government officials in exchange for preferential contracts.

Other videos circulating on social media showed a police convoy speeding down a road amid the sound of apparent gunfire.

Also yesterday the new assembly loyal to the embattled Maduro fired the country's attorney general, Luisa Ortega, one of the president's most vociferous critics, sparking a firestorm of condemnation from the United States and Latin American nations. The 1999 constitution stipulates that any new constitution must first be authorized by the public in a nationwide referendum. It only remained to Delcy Rodriguez, president of the Constituent assembly, proclaim, with a smile, the revocation "unanimously" Ms. Ortega.

The results have come under mounting scrutiny after the worldwide company that provided the electronic voting machines said that "without any doubt" the official turnout had been tampered with — a charge dismissed by Maduro and the National Electoral Council.

The opposition, which controls the legislature, has become sidelined.

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The reported unrest occurred as a new assembly with supreme powers and loyal to Maduro started functioning in Venezuela, a week after it was elected in polls marred by violence and allegations of vote-tampering.

In a sign of its cowed, demoralized state, only a few hundred demonstrators showed up for a Friday protest against the constitutional assembly, one of the smallest turnouts in months.

Another sign of this tension: gathered Saturday in Sao Paulo, the ministers of foreign Affairs of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay chose to suspend Venezuela's Mercosur, the south american common market, "rupture of the democratic order".

During his inauguration speech, Delcy Rodriguez, a friend of Mr Maduro, who was nicknamed "the tigress", has firmly rejected such criticism: "for the global community (...) the message is clear, very clear: we, Venezuelans, will solve our conflict, our crisis, without any kind of foreign interference".

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