Left-wing politicians and citizens in Venezuela are responding to a call to debate and mobilize in the name of strengthening the country's Bolivarian Revolution as President Nicolas Maduro announced a reshuffle of his Cabinet and vowed to veto amnesty laws proposed by the right-wing opposition that has swept the National Assembly with a super-majority.
Maduro vowed to restructure his Cabinet, saying in his regular television address Tuesday night that he had asked ministers to submit their resignation. He thanked the ministers for their contributions and pledged that the socialist movement will “continue in the battle with humility” with a focus on the people.
“Cabinet of ministers will be renewed, Maduro announced.”
The details of the Cabinet changes have not yet been announced.
Maduro also said that he plans to veto any proposals for an amnesty law for what opposition forces refer to as political prisoners, such as jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whose charges came down in September. Lopez is imprisoned over charges of public incitement of violence and association with crimes committed during opposition protests and violent street barricades, known as “Guarimbas,” that killed over 40 people 2014.
“I will not accept any amnesty law, because they violated human rights,” Maduro said. “They can send me a thousand laws but the murderers have to be prosecuted and have to pay.”
Meanwhile, National Assembly chief Diosdado Cabello also said that the parliament will appoint 12 new Supreme Court judges and complete other work before the end of the year.
The statements come after the Venezuelan opposition MUD coalition took control of the National Assembly in Sunday’s election, winning 109 seats of a total 167 while the ruling socialist GPP coalition, including President Maduro’s PSUV party, won 55 seats. Representatives holding three indigenous seats are also likely to side with the opposition given their right-wing alliances, bringing the opposition block to a two-thirds majority with a total of 112 seats.
The new parliament will take control in January. It marks the first time the opposition has had a majority since the election of former President Hugo Chavez in 1998.
Maduro said further details of his planned changes will be announced in the coming days.
“Nicolas Maduro calls for debate to strengthen the revolution.”
In light of the defeat, Maduro has joined other leaders throughout Latin America in calling for left-wing forces to regroup and learn from the loss in the name of strengthening Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and the regional socialist project.
Maduro called the opposition sweep a win for the “counter-revolution” and invoked the legacy of Hugo Chavez to mobilize popular support
Government supporters have gathered in the streets to hold grassroots parliamentary assemblies to discuss the way forward for the socialist movement.
Maduro pledged that all gatherings and actions of revolutionary movements and government supporters in the coming days will be conducted peacefully, with a focus on ensuring stability, independence, happiness, and Venezuelan sovereignty.
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