Maduro consolidates power in Venezuela with control of National Assembly

BOGOTA, Colombia – Nicolas Maduro’s allies took over Venezuela’s National Assembly on Tuesday, as part of a consolidation of power that increases the vulnerability of his opponents.

Diosdado Cabello, the vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, leads the ruling party bloc.

Jorge Rodriguez, the former communication and information minister, took over Juan Guaido’s position as full-seat deputy.

“There are crimes that must be paid,” Rodriguez said about the outgoing legislators.

Jose Gregorio Correa, an outgoing legislator, delivered a speech in the National Assembly chambers. He stood in front of the new 277 legislators. There are 253 members — including 219 members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela — who belong to a left-wing electoral alliance.

Most of Maduro’s opposition boycotted the Dec. 6 elections. Correa said the low voter turnout should serve as a sign to the new legislators that they need to be more inclusive.

“80% of Venezuela did not vote for you and today you occupy 90% of the seats,” Correa said in Spanish.

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