Venezuela to Strip Opposition-Controlled Legislature of Power
The unraveling of the last vestiges of Venezuela’s “democracy” continues apace as Maduro moves forward with stripping the legislature of its powers:
President Nicolas Maduro said the constituent assembly, which on Tuesday declared itself the nation’s supreme political authority, will strip legal immunity from the national assembly that has opposed him. Members of the so-called constituyente plan to establish a truth commission that will function more as a tribunal than a venue that offers amnesty in return for healing testimony.
“The truth commission can try anyone,” Maduro, 54, said this week.
The government, isolated and under threat of U.S. economic sanctions, has quickly deployed the constituent assembly against the last strongholds of dissent in public institutions and to weaken the opposition-led congress. The Justice and Truth Commission may become its main tool. In countries such as South Africa and Rwanda, such panels have allowed perpetrators of violence to confess their crimes in return for amnesty. The idea was to establish a baseline of truth and extinguish deadly political passions. In Venezuela, forgiveness so far is not on offer.
The Venezuelan chapter of Transparency international says that 39 of 77 opposition mayors have been threatened or punished by the government since 2013, with some removed and jailed, some having their powers curtailed and some barred from leaving the country.