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10 August 2017, 12:28 | Katrina Lee
US slaps new sanctions on Venezuela
Venezuela's newly installed constituent Assembly has given itself authority that makes it superior to all other governmental institutions, including the Opposition-controlled Congress, AP reported on Wednesday.
The constituents also approved Tuesday during their second session a decree of coexistence with the state's public powers, reiterating that they will not replace the National Assembly that is now led by the opposition.
Foreign ministers of 12 nations in the Americas met in Lima, Peru, on Tuesday to discuss the "critical situation in Venezuela" and to explore ways to achieve a "peaceful and negotiated" outcome.
While Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is being criticized by Latin American countries and the U.S. over the amount of force he is using against his own citizens, soccer legend Diego Maradona voiced his support for him in a Facebook post.
Ambassadors or their representatives from these countries stated in a 16-point Declaration their "strong rejection of violence and any method that involves the use of force" as well as the "systematic violation of basic human rights and freedoms", which includes "the existence of political prisoners and the lack of free elections subject to global monitoring".
According to the preliminary findings, security forces were allegedly responsible for at least 46 of the protester deaths, while pro-government armed groups were behind 27.
Commission members are looking into the latest wave of violent anti-government protests since April, as well as mass rallies during the first months of 2014 protesting the country's high levels of urban violence, inflation, and chronic shortages of basic goods attributed to economic policies.
On Monday, Maradona made a post on Facebook saying "We are Chavistas to the death".
"At this critical time", the Secretary-General urged the Venezuelan Government and the opposition to relaunch negotiations for the benefit of the country's people, said the statement, adding that Mr. Guterres is strongly supporting the ongoing efforts of the global facilitators and regional actors who are seeking to contribute to this end.
The supreme Court has already been sentenced to fifteen months in prison, Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the district of Chacao, an opposition stronghold in eastern Caracas.
Peru was urging that Maduro's government be condemned for carrying out "a new form of coup d'etat" through the "unconstitutional" Constituent Assembly, that political prisoners in Venezuela be freed, and that the country hold scheduled elections, diplomatic sources said.
The opposition had called for new roadblocks on Tuesday, but only a few hundred people participated in the east of Caracas, before being dispersed by tear gas. The UN report said it does not have details for all the deaths.
It also wants the group to condemn the new assembly's firing of Venezuela's attorney general, Luisa Ortega, an outspoken critic of Maduro, after she broke ranks with him. Still, Venezuela is facing mounting pressure and threats of deepening sanctions from trade partners.
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