Venezuela's congress names new leader, vows to battle Maduro

Clay Curtis
January 9, 2019

"Far from separating us, it unites us", he said.

"We are in the presence of an autocracy that has condemned to death anyone who opposes this particular vision of power", he continued, adding that Maduro's leadership "has only brought hunger, misery, and destruction to the country".

Maduro's Socialist Party "gradually but steadily" co-opted the Supreme Court and "turned it into an appendage of the executive branch", according to the International Commission of Jurists.

But in another sign of turmoil around Maduro, who is to be sworn in Thursday, a Supreme Court judge and former ally appeared on United States television to denounce last year's election, having fled the country.

The ballot, on May 20, was boycotted by most of the opposition.

Zerpa is the second Supreme Court justice to flee Venezuela in recent years.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, said it has opened an investigation into Zerpa, over allegations he sexually harassed women who worked in his office.

Socialist policies of Maduro and Chávez have crippled the oil-rich nation in less than two decades.

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Under Maduro, who succeeded President Hugo Chávez in 2013, the once thriving country has seen hyperinflation, shortages of food and medicine, and waves of fleeing citizens rushing the border out of desperation.

Zerpa apologized for propping up Maduro's government as long as he did, saying that he feared being jailed as a dissident where his life would be put at risk.

Zerpa said he is willing to cooperate with USA authorities and offer his testimony on what he knows, including information about the "conduct of some leaders".

The Lima Group has urged the Chavist leader not to take office, and instead officially recognised and supported the leadership of the National Assembly as "a constitutionally and democratically-elected organism in Venezuela". Therefore, the Lima Group does not recognise the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro's new presidential period.

Venezuelan officials have accused the coalition of taking orders directly from President Donald Trump, whom they've accused of spearheading an economic war against Venezuela.

He said the measure would take effect immediately.

"The revolution is stronger today than ever, more experienced than ever, to defend the sovereignty of the country", he said. "Venezuelans have the opportunity to enjoy 2019 as a year of prosperity and progress".

"The inhuman arrogance of this dictatorship led by Nicolas Maduro personally challenges the heads of state of the region", Borges said. This decision was announced by Peru's Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio after a pronouncement was made Friday by 12 Latin American countries and Canada, not to grant recognition to Maduro's hardline government following his controversial re-election in May. "It's not fair that a whole country should perish to satisfy one man's lust for power".

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