A key U.S. lawmaker accused the Venezuelan government on Monday of interfering in the National Assembly, which will convene for the first time on Tuesday.
“I write to urge you and your administration to take immediate steps to ensure that Mr. Maduro’s regime is denied the space to obstruct Venezuela’s path to democratic order,” U.S. Senator Robert Menendez wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama. “I believe you can accomplish this with a combination of close monitoring of key international organizations and meaningful, internationally imposed penalties.”
Menendez suggests petitioning the Organization of American States to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which would apply pressure on member states accused of anti-democratic activity.
Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges last year, accused of trading political favors for money and gifts.
Since the Dec. 6 elections that saw Venezuela’s opposition win a majority in the National Assembly, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his PSUV party have organized numerous meetings to defend the Bolivarian Revolution. On Monday, Maduro announced the creation of a new block of PSUV deputies tasked with revealing what he claims was the former opposition’s true agenda of rolling back gains for the poor and working class.
Maduro’s most controversial move since the election has been his announcement of an Emergency Economic Plan that grants more autonomy to the central bank, insulating it from opposition pressure. That plan drew fire for bypassing the now opposition-dominated National Assembly, which would like to overhaul the body.
U.S. Department of State spokesman John Kirby also expressed concern Monday that the Venezuelan Supreme Court could prevent 13 legislators from taking office due to election irregularities.
President Maduro has defended the court’s investigation, accusing the opposition of cheating to win. “(The right) had electoral success because they deepened their line of action outside the rules of the game: the economic, criminal and electrical warfare, among others, and then they hid behind a buddy,” said Maduro. He also reproached the United States for interfering in Venezuelan politics, saying the country would “not accept imperialism.”
This content was originally published by teleSUR.
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