Venezuela walks back move to strip Congress’ power
CARACAS | Venezuela’s president and Supreme Court backed down Saturday from an unprecedented move to strip Congress of its legislative powers that had sparked widespread charges that the South American country was no longer a democracy.
President Nicolas Maduro asked the Supreme Court in a late-night speech to review a ruling nullifying the branch of power that set off a storm of criticism from the opposition and foreign governments. The court on Saturday reinstated Congress’ authority.
It was a rare instance of the embattled socialist president backing away from a move to increase his power. Opposition leaders dismissed the reversal as too little too late. They said the clarification issued by the judges only proved yet again that Maduro controls the courts and there is no longer a real separation of powers in Venezuela.
At the same time, critics celebrated the reversal as proof that cracks are beginning to show in Maduro’s control of a country spiraling into chaos, with his approval ratings dipping below 20 percent amid the worsening economic and humanitarian crisis.