Top Venezuela court calls to strip opposition leader Guaido's immunity

AFP
Caracas, Capital District, Venezuela Published: Apr 02, 2019, 06:13 AM(IST)

Juan Guaido. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The court ruling cited Guaido's violation of a ban on his travel outside Venezuela when he visited Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay from late February to early March.

Venezuela's top court called on the ruling Constituent Assembly Monday to strip opposition leader Juan Guaido of parliamentary immunity.

The decision by the Supreme Court of Justice could open the way for President Nicolas Maduro's rival Guaido, recognised as interim president by more than 50 countries, to be prosecuted.

The court ruling cited Guaido's violation of a ban on his travel outside Venezuela when he visited Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay from late February to early March.

It came as Guaido and Maduro are locked in a battle for power in the oil-rich country, which is facing a crippling and deepening economic and political crisis.

The competition has been escalated into a geopolitical struggle, drawing in the United States and its allies that support Guaido, and Russia, Cuba and China backing Maduro.

Though unpopular in a country spiralling ever deeper into economic chaos, Maduro has the upper hand at home, thanks to loyalty from his military chiefs and, more recently, the presence of 100 Russian troops.

Abroad, Guaido is buoyed by US sanctions against Maduro's regime funnelling funds his way, and efforts to have his envoys recognised over Maduro's in diplomatic missions and international organizations.

Maduro, who so far has heeded US warnings to not arrest Guaido under threat of unspecified repercussions, appears nonetheless more confident since Moscow's overt protection.

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