CARACAS, April 3. /TASS/. Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly on Tuesday gave green light for further criminal investigation against opposition leader Juan Guaido after receiving a request from the Supreme Court to strip him of parliamentary immunity.
"Considering the Supreme Court’s request <…> the Constituent Assembly <…> rules to permit further investigation against citizen Juan Guaido," Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said at the assembly’s meeting, broadcast live by the Venezolana de Television TV.
"Under normal circumstances, this request would have been sent to the National Assembly, but at present it is non-existent as a functioning state body," he said.
Since December 2015, Venezuela’s unicameral parliament, the National Assembly, has been controlled by the opposition, In August 2016, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled to declare all of its future decisions null and void. The Constituent Assembly, loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, has been convoked on his initiative without a referendum.
On Monday, Venezuela’s Supreme Court requested the Constituent Assembly to strip Guaido of parliamentary immunity over his violation of a ban on leaving the country. The ban was imposed in January due to a preliminary investigation launched against him.
However, on February 22, Guaido traveled to the Colombian border city of Cucuta, which hosts a humanitarian aid distribution center. He returned to Venezuela after visiting Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Ecuador.
Venezuelan political crisis
On January 23, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas
Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US. On February 4, most of the European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president
In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.