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Venezuela: Right takes over in National Assembly

Ramos defies court to swear in all members

RIGHTWINGERS took control of the Venezuelan National Assembly for the first time in 17 years yesterday, defying a Supreme Court suspension of four MPs as Bolivarian revolutionary supporters protested outside.
 
Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) assembly president Henry Ramos Allup swore in his deputy and the other MPs including four candidates —three MUD and one socialist — whose elections are being investigated.
 
The Bolivarian march began in the 23 de Enero (January 23) working class neighbourhood, a bastion of support for the revolution and a traditional hotbed of left-wing political activity. 
 
It swept towards the Miraflores presidential palace to pick up President Nicolas Maduro before heading towards the National Assembly building.
 
Hundreds of supporters of the new right-wing majority in the assembly had marched earlier, following the president’s national television address on Monday, in which he said that he had instructed the military to guarantee opposition access to the building.
 
The rightwingers escorted their representatives through a heavily guarded military barricade into the National Assembly.
 
MUD members chanted: “Freedom, freedom” in unison while their opponents responded with: “Right-wing fascists,” holding up pictures of the 43 people killed during last year’s violent “guarimba” protests orchestrated by the opposition.
 
Earlier, United Socialist Party (PSUV) assembly leader Hector Rodriguez addressed members, reminding his audience of the right wing’s role in promoting neoliberalism and of its “betrayal” of the workers in the 1990s.
 
He said that, while the right was obsessed with removing Mr Maduro from office, the PSUV would stay true to defending the people.
 
The president warned on Monday that MUD was intent on privatising the state-owned oil and telecommunications PDVSA and CANTV companies and, indeed, the entire productive sector.
 
Mr Maduro announced plans to implement measures to overcome an “economic emergency.”
 
“I’m evaluating the strengthening of a strategic plan. We are going to activate an emergency plan and reconstruct our economy,” he declared.

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