Maduro strip immunity by Venezuela’s government.

Maduro strip immunity by Venezuela’s government.
Maduro strip immunity by Venezuela’s government.

Venezuela's legislator's on Monday asked politicians to strip opposition leader Juan Guaido of immunity, paving the way for the opposition leader’s prosecution and potential arrest for for alleged crimes as he seeks to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

But whether the government of President Nicolas Maduro will take action against the 35-year-old lawmaker following the Constituent Assembly’s decision remains unclear.

Guaidó declared himself himself Venezuela’s interim president in January, and vowed to overthrow Maduro.

Supreme Court Justice Maikel Moreno said Guaido should be prosecuted for violating a ban on leaving the country when he went on a tour of Latin American countries that back a change in Venezuela's government.

The chief prosecutor's office has opened an investigation of Guaido but has not ordered his arrest or officially charged him with anything.

The Trump administration has threatened the Maduro government with a strong response if Guaido is harmed and Florida Senator Marco Rubio — who has Trump’s ear on Venezuela policy — said before the vote that nations recognizing Guaidó as his country’s legitimate leader should take any attempt by Maduro’s government to “abduct” him as a coup.

However, the vote against Guaidó was unanimous, and Constituent Assembly president and socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello accused the opposition of naively inviting a foreign invasion and of inciting a civil war.

The Constituent Assembly, which is made up entirely of Maduro loyalists, met a day after Maduro ally and Venezuela Supreme Court of Justice Maikel Moreno ordered it to strip Guaidó’s immunity for violating an order banning him leaving the country while under investigation by the attorney general. The opposition leader is also accused of inciting violence through street protests, and of receiving illicit funds from abroad.

The Constitution guarantees immunity for elected officials, and says that in order to withdraw immunity the accused lawmaker must be given a preliminary hearing before the Supreme Court. The action must be approved by the National Assembly — steps that weren’t taken in Guaidó’s case.

The Constitutional Assembly was created two years ago, when Maduro became frustrated by the democratically elected and opposition-dominated National Assembly rejected the president’s policies. Its creation essentially replaced the National Assembly, rendering it powerless.

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