Constituent Assembly Starts Work, Opposition Stages Terror Attack

Fugitive mayor urges Venezuelans to continue resistance

Fugitive mayor urges Venezuelans to continue resistance

The United States sanctioned President Nicolas Maduro and other Venezuelan officials after Maduro established a constituent assembly run by his Socialist Party loyalists and cracked down on widespread opposition.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza shot back on state television that the U.S. was "making a fool of itself in front of the world".

The day after elections were held for the Assembly، the U.S. slapped sanctions on Maduro.

He said he wanted the meeting، "if it can happen،" to be held when world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 20.

The US Treasury Department has sanctioned Adan Coromoto Chavez Frias, brother of the late Socialist leader Hugo Chavez, as well as five fellow members of Venezuela's freshly installed constituent assembly, a National Electoral Council official and the Federal Legislative Palace's security chief.

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Venezuela is facing mounting global criticism over a crackdown on opponents and moves to consolidate power, including the selection of the all-powerful assembly controlled by Mr Maduro.

"It's entirely conceivable that, if the Constituyente generates further chaos and repression, the Maduro government could lose even more friends", says Shifter.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro addresses Constitutional Assembly members during a special session at National Assembly building in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Almost 130 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces.

Maduro and his government are deeply unpopular, as the country's 30 million citizens suffer under a long economic crisis that has resulted in shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation - a harsh reality for an oil-rich country that used to be one of Latin America's wealthiest.

He added that Venezuela "will never cede to foreign powers".

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Though the two countries are longtime allies, some in the Maduro opposition now say Russian Federation is exploiting Venezuela's problems to gain permanent leverage over the country.

The recent election of the 545-member assembly drew global condemnation for usurping the authority of Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress.

National Assembly President Julio Borges, leader of the country's opposition, has sent more than a dozen letters to leading global banks warning them of the risk to their reputations and bottom line if they throw a lifeline to Maduro.

He expressed hope that the Assembly's efforts to rewrite the constitution would return "peace" to Venezuela، where political violence has taken more than 120 lives over the past several months.

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