Treasury sanctions Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela's intelligence service has taken away two prominent opposition leaders in the middle of the night, according to their families.

"The imprisonment of two of the most important dissidents of President Nicolas Maduro's government is further proof of the lack of respect for individual liberties and the due process of law, essential pillars of a democratic regime", according to a statement from the office of Brazil's foreign minister, Aloysio Nunes Ferreira.

The court - which critics say is a mouthpiece for socialist President Nicolas Maduro - did not specify whether their alleged plan was to go into hiding in Venezuela or to flee overseas. "The President of Venezuela wants to do a Constituent Assembly, to revoke the power of the National Assembly", she said.

A defiant Maduro said the U.S. move smacked of "imperialism" and added that he would proceed with the plans to rewrite the constitution that was last amended by his predecessor, Hugo Chavez in 1999.

The conflict shows no tangible signs of letting up, either by the government, the organized political opposition, or the street protesters who call themselves La Resistencia. However, days after his release, he published a video on social media urging Venezuelans to protest against the constituent assembly.

The new Constituent Assembly is set to replace the democratically elected members this week.


He also criticized the acts of violence by groups aligned to the opposition in some zones to prevent people from voting.

Mnuchin wouldn't say what assets, if any, Maduro might hold.

"The people have delivered the constitutional assembly", Maduro said on national television.

Enflamed by economic privations, unrest in the country spilled on to the streets in March, when the Supreme Court, which is widely seen as a puppet of Maduro's government, attempted to strip the National Assembly of its legislative powers. Videos of the detentions were posted on Twitter.

The most obvious way to hurt Maduro is to hit the heart of Venezuela's economy: oil. "The results thus suggest that the government maintains an important loyal core of supporters that it can mobilize in both electoral and non-electoral scenarios", the report concluded.

The U.S. sends light crude oil to Venezuela, which has heavy crude. They have kidnapped him once again.


Maduro said he had received congratulations from the governments of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, among others. Critics say Sunday's vote eroded the country's democracy.

Maduro held a vote on Sunday leading to the creation of a new legislature that will have the authority to dismantle Venezuela's constitution.

"It's obvious this is retaliation after Sunday's bad result, the government didn't get the votes it wanted", Capriles said at a press conference in Madrid.

"The bishops are unanimous in their rejection of this new assembly, and we are asking the government to reconsider", Cardinal Urosa told Venezuela news station Globovision the day before the vote.

Venezuela's economic crisis, exacerbated by a fall in oil prices, has caused basic goods, including food and medicine, to be in short supply, unavailable or unaffordable.

President Nicolas Maduro made clear in a televised address Saturday that he intends to use the assembly not just to rewrite the country's charter but to govern as "a power that's above and beyond every other". Maduro fed some of those fears this month, appearing on television in front of a portrait of Soviet communist leader Vladimir Lenin.



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