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Venezuela’s Parliament Refuses to Pass President Maduro’s State of Emergency Decree

Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament has rejected a state of emergency that President Nicolas Maduro decreed over a nation suffering from food shortages and a crumbling economy.

The National Assembly voted in favor of defying the decree, saying, “it deepens the severe disruption of constitutional and democratic order that Venezuela is suffering through.”

“This is a decree made to scare Venezuelans,” declared lawmaker Julio Borges during the congressional session, reports Deutsche Welle (DW). ”The only thing that interests the government is perpetuating its power.”

Nevertheless, the supreme court has the power to overrule parliament, as it has done with other decisions taken by lawmakers in Venezuela.

“Before the vote, [Maduro] accused the US of plotting an invasion of the politically-divided country, which is suffering the economic consequences of a dramatic fall in oil prices,” notes DW. “Maduro also claimed that the US military had flown a spy plane over Venezuela last week.”

The military must decide whether it stands “with the constitution or with Maduro,” declared opposition leader Henrique Capriles before the vote.

“Venezuela’s political crisis has deepened after the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro, predicted that the opposition-controlled parliament would soon ‘disappear’ while his political rivals prepared for a day of protests in the capital to demand a recall vote,” reports the Guardian.

“Both sides have intensified the rhetoric as they vie for control of a country wracked by food shortages, looting, power cuts, spiraling violence, a shrinking economy and the world’s highest rate of inflation,” it adds.

Maduro first declared a state of emergency in Venezuela back in January. Earlier this week, his government announced that it was being extended for 60 more days.

The state of economic emergency was implemented after Venezuela’s oil price dropped to the lowest in 12 years$24 per barrel. Venezuela’s budget overwhelmingly depends on oil revenues.

“There is deep frustration about Venezuela’s slide towards chaos even among people who voted for Maduro or supported his populist predecessor, Hugo Chávez,” notes the Guardian. “People are forced to queue for hours for basic goods, and still their children go hungry.”

Reuters adds:

Maduro on Friday night declared a 60-day state of emergency due to what he called plots from Venezuela and the United States to subvert him. He did not provide specifics.

The measure shows Maduro is panicking as a push for a recall referendum against him gains traction with tired, frustrated Venezuelans, opposition leaders said during a protest in Caracas.

Maduro has denounced the recall referendum against him.

“Measures [of Maduro’s state of emergency] include broadening the powers of soldiers and police to keep public order, with the backing of local civilian groups,” reports Australia’s ABC news agency. “The President also ordered military exercises for Saturday.”

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