Venezuela seeks to cool outrage in U-turn on congress annulment

News Hour:

Venezuela’s pro-government Supreme Court on Saturday revoked its controversial annulment of the opposition-led Congress amid international condemnation and protests against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Unprecedented pressure from other Latin American nations and dissent within its own ranks appear to have been the catalyst for the court’s reversal of its own Wednesday ruling.

“This controversy is over,” Maduro said just after midnight to a specially convened state security committee that ordered the top court to reconsider, reports Reuters.

The tribunal duly erased the two controversial judgments and its president, Maikel Moreno, met with both foreign envoys and journalists to explain the decision, insisting there had never been any intention to strip the National Assembly of its powers.

While Maduro, 54, sought to cast developments as the achievement of a statesman resolving a power conflict beneath him, his foes said it was a hypocritical row-back by an unpopular government that had overplayed its hand.

“You can’t pretend to just normalize the nation after carrying out a ‘coup,'” said Julio Borges, leader of the legislature.

He said the ruling had merely shown the world what Venezuelans already new – that Maduro had become a dictator.

Borges publicly tore up the court rulings this week, refused to attend the overnight security committee, which includes the heads of major institutions, and led an open-air meeting of the National Assembly in a Caracas square on Saturday.

Having already shot down most congressional measures since the opposition won control in 2015, the Supreme Court went further with its Wednesday decision that it was taking over the legislature’s role because it was in “contempt” of the law.

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