Venezuela: Abducted Mayor Returned to House Arrest, Leopoldo López Remains Imprisoned

St Peter's Cathedral in Vatican

A newly installed constitutional assembly ousted Venezuela's defiant chief prosecutor Saturday - a sign that President Nicolas Maduro's embattled government intends to move swiftly against critics and consolidate power amid a fast-moving political crisis.

Ortega said she was blocked from entering her Public Ministry on Saturday morning by government forces who shoved her and impeded her entry using their shields.

"Don't think we're going to wait weeks, months or years", Rodriguez said Friday.

With the serious challenge of achieving national understanding, the ANC members are starting to work, showing their willing to confront "the violent people, the fascists, those who are waging the economic warfare against the people", whom justice will reach, Rodriguez pointed out.

Mercosur, a South American trading bloc, was meeting on Saturday in Brazil to decide whether Venezuelan should be suspended from it for "breaching democratic order".

Lopez remains in prison.

The European Union is refusing to recognize Venezuela's new assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution, saying it could undermine the country's institutions. But to no avail: the Constituent is Maduros protest, his only way to maintain some semblance of power after losing the National Assembly in late 2015 by a landslide.

The assembly will have sweeping powers and the opposition fears it will be used to strengthen Maduro's power and further crack down on dissent.

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He also said that Venezuela's decisions affect Colombia and Colombians, and that democracy is now destroyed in that country.

H.R. McMaster, the US national security adviser, said in a television interview Saturday that "democracy is over right now in Venezuela", but dismissed the threat of military intervention there from an outside source.

The assembly said Tarek William Saab, a staunch government supporter and a Maduro loyalist, would replace Ortega Diaz as Venezuela's attorney general.

The global community is voicing growing concern over the situation in Venezuela following Sunday's controversial vote for a new constituent assembly.

As tensions and deaths continue to rise in Venezuela over the government's push to re-write their constitution, the Holy See has urged the country's leaders to hold off on the constitutional assembly, focusing instead on alleviating the nation's crippling humanitarian crisis.

Smartmatic, the British technology firm contracted to handle the ballot, said Wednesday the figure of 8.1 million votes was inflated by at least 1 million.

The Trump administration previously placed personal sanctions on Maduro in response to Sunday's election, including travel restrictions and the freezing of assets, while senior officials are also considering additional sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry, which represents 95 percent of the country's total exports. Their supporters call them political prisoners.

And in a surprise reversal, security forces transferred the Caracas mayor, Antonio Ledezma, from jail to house arrest, just days after they whisked him out of his home in his pajamas in a midnight raid.

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