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Venezuela uses 'excessive force to crush dissent'

Venezuela uses 'excessive force to crush dissent'”

On Tuesday, the United Nations joined the growing criticism of the government, saying Venezuela had used excessive force to crush anti-government protests.

On Tuesday, the Constituent Assembly, which does not include opposition supporters due to their boycott, convened in the same building as the opposition-controlled National Assembly and decreed itself superior to all other government institutions.

The crackdown on the opposition following last month's widely questioned vote to elect the constitutional assembly is likely to dominate a meeting in Peru on Tuesday where foreign ministers from more than a dozen Latin American governments were gathering to discuss how to force Maduro to back down.

Venezuela has been beset by a wave of anti-government protests since April 1 that have left at least 121 people dead.

The supreme Court has already been sentenced to fifteen months in prison, Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the district of Chacao, an opposition stronghold in eastern Caracas.

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The constituents also approved Tuesday during their second session a decree of coexistence with the state's public powers, reiterating that they will not replace the National Assembly that is now led by the opposition.

"I call on all parties to work towards a solution to the rapidly worsening tensions in the country, to renounce the use of violence and to take steps towards meaningful political dialogue", Zeid said.

The Trump administration is preparing sanctions against another group of Venezuelan officials linked to President Nicolas Maduro in response to his creation of a new legislative super body in defiance of world condemnation, USA officials said on Monday.

Lawmakers are urging Venezuelans to abandon their homes and workplaces at midday to take to the streets to block traffic and bring the nation to a standstill. Now, the commission will operate under the aegis of the new constitutional assembly with its untrammeled powers.

Major Latin American nations have rejected the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly, and South American nations have indefinitely suspended Venezuela from the Mercosur trading bloc for breaking "democratic order".

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The U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions against 13 Venezuelan government officials.

Washington said the new Constituent Assembly, which was sworn in on August 4, was created "through an undemocratic process instigated by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government to subvert the will of the Venezuelan people".

Peru has been one of the most outspoken critics of Maduro under centrist Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki, a former Wall Street banker whom Maduro has described as a lackey of the US.

The assembly was expected to gather at the legislative palace in Caracas for the first time since voting Saturday to remove the nation's outspoken chief prosecutor, a move that drew condemnation from numerous same regional government that are sending representatives to the meeting in Peru's capital.

The representative of the host country, Ricardo Luna, vehemently condemned: "What we have in Venezuela is a dictatorship".

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