Venezuela’s opposition National Assembly Friday voted 72 to 29 to dissolve the nation’s interim government, remove opposition leader Juan Guaido and constitute a commission to oversee the foreign assets of the Venezuelan government. President Nicolas Maduro controls the nation’s judiciary and armed forces while foreign assets remain in the hands of the legislature. Three opposition parties supported the bill – Justice First, Democratic Action and A New Era. Guaido’s party, Voluntad Popular, opposed it. Sergio Vergara, a party deputy stated:Dissolving the interim government of Venezuela would mean strengthening the Nicolás Maduro regime, which will have access to resources and assets that it will use against the people, it will gain international space that it had lost and, in addition, the doors of a process of normalization and dictatorial legitimization will be opened.The assembly also voted to create a “Council of Administration and Protection of Assets,” a five-member commission managing the foreign assets of Venezuela totaling $52 million, including Citgo, an American subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA. Guaido argued that presidential powers cannot be delegated to a commission and expressed concern over a power vacuum in the absence of a president. He stated that only Maduro’s “dictatorship” benefited from the debate and that he would not go back on what they achieved in the Assembly. Lawmakers from Guaido’s party called the bill unconstitutional because the commission granted executive powers to a legislative body.Maduro came to power in 2019 on the heels of a widely disputed election. The legislature did not recognize his presidency and instead sought to declare Guiado the president pursuant to Article 333 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which stipulates that every citizen has a “duty to assist in bringing the Constitution back into actual effect” if repealed by acts of force. Maduro’s regime has carried out numerous human rights violations and crimes against humanity like extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions. The political crisis has resulted in unprecedented inflation, food shortages and large-scale emigration.
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