Venezuela crushes small anti-Maduro uprising at military base

They said they were acting in response to a ruling by the government-stacked Supreme Court, which banned Ortega from leaving the country and froze her bank accounts while it weighs criminal charges against her for alleged irregularities.

Global pressure against Venezuela's election has been increasing as the United States, Mexico and Colombia said they're freezing assets and imposing other restrictions on certain current and former Venezuelan government officials.

He was first arrested in 2014 and released to home detention last month. "There are several terrorists detained", Diosdado Cabello, a long-time government official and lawmaker who's now one of the highest ranking socialist party members, said on his Twitter account.

Maduro went forward with the vote despite four months of protests by the opposition that have left at least 116 dead and stiff opposition from the U.S., European Union and several Latin America countries.

The constitutional assembly was seated despite strong criticism from the United States, other countries and the Venezuelan opposition, which fear that it will be a tool for imposing dictatorship.

Another high-profile dissident, Antonio Ledezma, 62, was released back to house arrest Friday after being hauled away the same day as Lopez. He later reportedly sought exile after a military tribunal ordered his arrest, appearing in an interview on CNN en Espanol to draw attention to dissatisfaction within the ranks over Venezuela's demise. Padrino has repeatedly said the military supports Maduro.

The opposition has vowed to maintain street protests against the assembly.

"The constituent assembly is love, peace and loyalty", said Raquel Rodriguez, a 57-year-old government worker who joined the march. "The only thing it's doing is destroying itself and committing suicide".

At the same time, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil announced Venezuela's indefinite suspension from the South American trading bloc Mercosur for its "rupture of the democratic order".

The Brazilian Foreign Ministry calls Luisa Ortega Diaz's ouster "arbitrary and illegal".

Maduro responded by calling Mercosur's move part of a dirty campaign led by the Trump administration to discredit Venezuela and get its hands on its vast oil reserves.

Maduro responded to the worldwide criticism by telling an Argentine radio station that "Venezuela will not be taken out of Mercosur - never!"

Although brushed off by Maduro as part of a plot by "the global enemy", that gave grounds for Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega - a thorn in Maduro's side - to order an investigation.

The principal task of the Constituent Assembly is to rewrite the constitution, something Mr Maduro promised will resolve Venezuela's troubles.

The constitutional assembly is made up of delegates from an array of pro-government sectors such as trade unionists, students and even representatives of Venezuelans with physical disabilities.

It will have sweeping powers to upend institutions and in theory could even remove Maduro, a fact held up by government supporters as a sign of its independence.

  • Rogelio Becker