Venezuelan military 'sieges' chief prosecutor's office

Mercosur suspends Venezuela for the 'rupture of democratic order'


CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela's chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz, a former socialist loyalist who turned against President Nicolas Maduro, denounced on Twitter Saturday morning the National Guard's siege of her office in Caracas. 

Ortega Diaz, who the Supreme Court accused of misconduct, ordered an investigation of possible electoral fraud during the Sunday election of the 545 delegates of Maduro's new all-powerful legislative body. 

"I reject the siege of the headquarters of the public prosecutor's office" Ortega Diaz tweeted with pictures of the military guards in riot gear. "I denounce this arbitrary act before the national and international community. 

Shortly after, the new assembly announced Tarek William Saab, who faces U.S. sanctions, was the new Attorney General of Venezuela. As the top human rights official, he was accused of failing to protect protesters from the abuses of the military and riot police. 

"Do you know what they want to achieve with this? They want to hide the corruption and violation of human rights taking place in Venezuela that I will continue to denounce," Ortega Diaz said, as officers prevented her from going inside the building.

Ortega Diaz left in a motorcycle with the help of two body guards. 

The delegates unanimously elected Friday their leader, Delcy Rodriguez, who now has more power than Maduro.

Rodriguez, a former foreign minister, solidified the Venezuelan Democrats' concerns about the legislative body turning into Maduro's latest political weapon. Maduro’s wife and son are among the delegates. 

"Do not think we’re going to wait weeks, months or years," Rodriguez said during her first speech Friday. "Tomorrow we start to act. The violent fascists, those who wage economic war on the people, those who wage psychological war: Justice is coming for you!"

Maduro has already warned that when the new all-powerful legislative body rewrites the constitution, it will make sure that the lawmakers who oppose him will not have the constitutional immunity from prosecution.

Oscar Schemer and Iris Varela, new assembly members, said Friday that the people of Venezuela want justice and they are going to make sure that they get it.

International condemnation of the take over continued. The foreign ministers of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay announced Saturday that Mercosur was suspending Venezuela due to a "rupture" with the democratic order.

They also urged Maduro to release political prisoners, stop his political repression and step down. At least 120 Venezuelan deaths are linked to the four months of protests against Maduro and his socialist take over of the oil-rich country facing food and medicine shortages.


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