Uninvited intervention: Maduro accuses Venezuela parliament of treason

Jun 01, 2016 12:00 AM

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro accused the country's parliament of treason after the National Assembly speaker called for foreign assistance in resolving the country's ongoing crisis.

Last week, Henry Allup, the head of Venezuela's legislature, said he planned to address the United Nations with a request to intervene in the critical situation in Venezuela.

"I want to organize a historical process, which will demonstrate to the entire nation the usurpation of power [by the parliament] and treason, which the National Assembly fell into," Maduro said as quoted by the Venezuelan news agency AVN.

Maduro has been facing a wave of criticism from his country's opposition; discontent with his government has spiked amid acute economic and social problems that have accompanied the marked drop in oil prices. Last year, the government attempted to implement official exchange rates and price controls amid hyperinflation, leading to a surge in black market currency transactions, long lines, empty shelves and punitive actions against retailers.

In December, Venezuelans voted out Maduro's ruling Socialist Party in the country's National Assembly elections, but the country's problems have only worsened as a regional drought has threatened both Venezuela's agricultural sector and its power supply, due to low water levels at the reservoirs that power its hydroelectric dams.

The National Assembly has urged the public to defy Maduro's efforts to declare a national emergency, and hopes to oust the President via popular referendum. Many are looking to the country's Supreme Court to overrule the legislative decision, while opposition leader Henrique Capriles has called on the army to back the legislature, in a move that some consider all-too-reminiscent of the failed 2002 US-backed coup attempt against the late former President Hugo Chavez.

A worker of the National Electoral Council (CNE) configures a voting machine in front of a mural depicting Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez at a school in Caracas, December 4, 2015. Venezuela will hold parliamentary elections on December 6.

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