October 17, 2018

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Venezuelan attorney general again defies leftist president

Venezuelan attorney general again defies leftist president

Tension rose another notch in Venezuela Thursday, where the country’s attorney general sharply defied President Nicolas Maduro one day after a mob stormed the National Assembly and attacked opposition legislators.

The show of public dissent from a high-ranking official suggests a split in the socialist administration and eroding support for the embattled president, whose volatile oil-exporting nation has been shaken by a wave of anti-government protests.

At least 91 people have died in three months of demonstrations, prosecutors say.

Protesters blame Maduro for Venezuela’s desperate economic crisis. He blames the chaos on a US-backed conspiracy.

Riots were reported in different parts of Caracas overnight, hours after Katherine Haringhton — recently named deputy attorney general and seen as Attorney General Luisa Ortega’s replacement if the court fires her — showed up unexpectedly at the AG’s headquarters.

Ortega denied her entry.

The Supreme Court designated Haringhton to the post, a move that is “unconstitutional, illegal and illegitimate” because only the National Assembly can name people to such positions, Ortega said in a statement.

Ortega, 59, the most senior figure to defy Maduro, has accused the pro-government Supreme Court of undermining democracy through a short-lived ruling that seized power from the opposition-led legislature.

As violence swelled, Ortega accused police of killing protesters — comments that enraged Maduro, who slammed her as a traitor.

Ortega also accused Maduro of violating the constitution with his plan to hold an unelected special assembly to rewrite the document. Read more

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