Critic ousted in Venezuela
Chief prosecutor ripped President’s power grab
CARACAS, Venezuela — A newly installed constitutional assembly ousted Venezuela’s defiant chief prosecutor Saturday, a sign that President Nicolas Maduro’s embattled government intends to move swiftly against critics and consolidate power amid a fast-moving political crisis.
Cries of “traitor” and “justice has arrived” erupted from the 545 progovernment delegates during the unanimous vote to remove Luisa Ortega from her post as the nation’s top law enforcement official and replace her with a staunch government supporter.
They said they were acting in response to a ruling by the governmentstacked Supreme Court, which had also been considering a request to sanction Ortega.
Earlier Saturday, Ortega, a longtime loyalist who broke with the socialist government in April, said she was pushed and barred from entering her office by dozens of national guardsmen in riot gear who took control of the entrance to the building.
She alleged that authorities were desperate to get their hands on sensitive dossiers containing information on dirty dealings by high-level officials, including details about millions of dollars in bribes paid by Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
“Do you know what they want to achieve with this? They want to hide the corruption and violation of human rights taking place in Venezuela that I will continue to denounce,” Ortega told journalists outside the building.
Assembly delegates voted to replace her with Tarek William Saab, who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration for failing to protect protesters from abuses in his role as the nation’s top human rights official. A woman uses a fan for relief from the blistering heat while riding a streetcar in Bucharest, Romania, yesterday.