Comparing him to to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, Venezuela’s National Assembly is considering putting President Nicolas Maduro on trial for “violations of democracy and dereliction of duty.”
The Assembly, which is controlled by the political opposition, is angry about the decision of the country’s electoral committee to nullify a national referendum to remove Maduro from office. Although more than twice as many voter signatures were collected than necessary to force a referendum, the committee ruled that irregularities in the recall process were enough to end the process
Polls indicate that voters overwhelming support the ouster of Maduro, as Venezuela suffers from shortages of food, medical supplies, medicine and other basic goods, and had an inflation rate of more than 500%.
The Assembly debate to try Maduro was interrupted Sunday when government supporters entered the assembly hall in Caracas, chanting pro-Maduro slogans. After a brief yelling match with law makers, they were removed by police.
In addition to government rejection of the referendum, assembly members are also angry that Maduro left the country to visit heads-of-state in the Middle East during a time of crisis. “We are at a critical point in the country’s history and it is unthinkable that the president would abandon his post to travel overseas,” said one opposition assemblyman.