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Venezuela's new assembly replaces parliament lost to opposition in 2015

Delegates fire chief prosecutor who warns of Odebrecht corruption evidence

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CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro used a new constituent assembly to replace the parliament he lost to his political opponents in 2015.

The new delegates of the assembly, who are all loyal to Maduro and include his wife and son, used their legislative power to get rid of Maduro's first opponent Saturday.

After Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz, who has been investigating high-level officials for corruption, couldn't walk into her office, the delegates voted to remove her. They replaced her with Tarek William Saab, the country's top human rights official, who faces U.S. sanctions.  

"This country has lost its freedom," Ortega Diaz told reporters. 

Ortega Diaz confronted the National Guard officers who pushed her with their shields and asked her to leave the government's property in Caracas. Officers arrested Norman Gallardo, who was protecting Ortega Diaz, according to El Nacional

Ortega Diaz left the area with two men on a motorcycle, but not before telling reporters that evidence of possible corruption related to Odebrecht, a Brazilian conglomerate linked to corruption probes in Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador, was going to disappear.  

The members of parliament, who were elected in 2015 and were in their majority from political parties in opposition to Maduro, were supportive of Ortega Diaz. Defiant lawmakers said they would continue to meet, as their election to parliament was legitimate and the election of the new delegates was fraudulent. 

Opposition lawmaker Miguel Pizarro had a warning for Venezuelans about the new delegates, who were under the leadership of Delcy Rodriguez, the former foreign minister. 

"This is what the constitutional assembly will bring: More repression," Pizarro said. 



About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013.