The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV) has publicly invoked the intercession of the Virgin Mary to free the nation “from the claws of communism,” in a clear reference to the regime of President Nicolás Maduro.
“Blessed Virgin, Mother of Coromoto, heavenly Patron of Venezuela, free our country from the claws of communism and socialism,” the CEV posted on Twitter this Sunday, complete with an image of Santa Maria and a Venezuelan flag.
Virgen Santísima, Madre de Coromoto, celestial Patrona de Venezuela libra a nuestra Patria de las garras del comunismo y socialismo. pic.twitter.com/xF7AC9kD5r
— CEV (@CEVmedios) July 30, 2017
On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro convened the members of the Constituent Assembly for a vote to replace Venezuela’s National Assembly with a new National Constituent Assembly, an attempt to further concentrate his power and eliminate the legislative body that has an opposition majority.
Maduro declared a sweeping victory for himself, which will give him near absolute power over the crisis-torn nation.
The unpopular socialist president is a former bus driver who worked his way up to become a member of the inner circle of former President Hugo Chávez. Chávez eventually made Maduro his vice-president and recommended him as successor to the presidency.
Maduro’s calling of the Constituent Assembly was harshly criticized by the Venezuelan bishops, who in a communiqué issued on July 27 called the measure “unconstitutional,” as well as “unnecessary, inopportune and harmful for the Venezuelan people.”
The Treasury Department has reacted to the power grab by imposing sanctions on Maduro, sending a clear signal of the Trump administration’s opposition to his regime.
“Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement announcing the sanctions.
As of Monday, all of the Venezuelan president’s assets that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction were frozen, and all U.S. citizens have been barred from dealing with him.
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