Maduro Retakes Venezuela Assembly, Cementing Control

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro installed a new National Assembly filled with regime loyalists, consolidating his power over key institutions in the crisis-torn nation despite mounting U.S. sanctions, Bloomberg News reported. Lawmakers on Tuesday elected former Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez as the new president of the legislative body. Maduro’s son Nicolas Maduro Guerra and his wife Cilia Flores were among the 277 representatives who took their seats -- in their vast majority supporters of the ruling socialist party, following December elections the opposition has denounced as fraudulent. “Sanctions are useless, because the people have shown that not even the worst sanctions will be able to break them,” Rodriguez said after being sworn in, assuring that the Assembly will promote dialogue with all political groups, including those that boycotted the election. Since taking over for Chavez in 2013, Maduro has resisted efforts to force him out, presiding over a precipitous deterioration of the oil-rich country. The U.S. and more than 50 countries recognized the opposition’s Juan Guaido as interim leader in early 2019, when he took the helm of the previous National Assembly controlled by Maduro opponents. His claim was based on alleged vacancy in the presidency due to elections deemed fraudulent in 2018. Read more.