Venezuela's Guaido Accuses Maduro's Govt Of 'Dismantling' Legislature

Juan Guaido right and Edgar Zambranoleave the congress in Caracas

Venezuelan intelligence agents detained opposition leader Juan Guaido's congressional deputy on Wednesday, using a tow truck to drag his vehicle away with him inside, prompting the USA government to warn of "consequences" if he was not released.

"They won't get us out of the streets", said Guaido, whose public appearance in Caracas reflected his belief that Maduro does not have the confidence to arrest him.

The U.S.is warning the Venezuelan government of "consequences" after intelligence agents last night whisked away Edgar Zambrano, opposition leader Juan Guaidó's right-hand man in the National Assembly.

"The arbitrary arrest yesterday evening of Edgar Zambrano, First Vice President of Venezuela's National Assembly, is an unacceptable and illegal act that is yet another reflection of the repression of the former Maduro regime", Pompeo said in a statement.

He was transferred to the Caracas headquarters of the military police, Fort Tiuna, the court said.

The Lima Group, which includes a dozen Latin American countries and Canada, said his arrest was unconstitutional because his parliamentary immunity was illegally lifted. The Maduro government accuses Zambrano of being involved in that attempted uprising, NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Supreme Court's head, Maikel Moreno, rebuffed America's threats to sanction his court's members if they did not reject Maduro's government.

"Zambrano's arrest may be a test to gauge the response of the global community before it moves against Guaido".

US President Donald Trump - whose government was among the first to back Juan Guaido - said he was "discussing the bad abuses by Maduro".

Edgar Zambrano, vice presidente of the Venezuelan National Assembly. On Wednesday, the court accused three others of the same crimes.

In January Guaido declared himself acting president after the National Assembly branded Maduro as illegitimate over his re-election a year ago in polls widely criticized as fraudulent.

The 64-year-old's auto was surrounded outside his Democratic Action Party's headquarters before it was towed, with him still in it, to the notorious Helicoide prison, within the headquarters of Venezuela's SEBIN intelligence agency.

The Constituent Assembly, which Maduro created to sideline the National Assembly, has said it will suspend the immunity of any lawmakers who backed the uprising.

Trump did not mention Zambrano, but said that the United States would stand with the people of Venezuela "for however long it takes".

Guaido's latest attempt to undermine armed forces support for the embattled Maduro fizzled out after two days of clashes between protesters and the security services that left several people dead.

Venezuela has suffered more than four years of recession marked by shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.

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