Venezuela: Opposition lawmakers seek refuge in embassies to avoid arrest

Security forces arrested National Assembly Vice President Edgar Zambrano the No. 2 leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress

The 64-year-old's vehicle was surrounded outside his Democratic Action Party's headquarters before it was towed, with him still in it, to the notorious Helicoide prison inside Sebin headquarters.

The opposition, led by Mr Guaido, said it doesn't back this decision.

After the coup flopped, opposition leader Juan Guadio, recognized as "interim president" of Venezuela by the USA and some 50 other countries, lamented that the opposition did not have enough manpower and supporters within government circles.

The 35-year-old called for a national demonstration on Saturday to reject measures taken by the Supreme Court against opposition lawmakers.

Zambrano - who is being held in a military prison - is one of 10 opposition lawmakers charged with treason by the Supreme Court for participating in the April 30 movement. "Zambrano's arrest may be a test to gauge the response of the worldwide community before it moves against Guaido".

Guaido said on Thursday the arrests were part of a bid by Maduro to dismantle the National Assembly legislature, Venezuela's sole opposition-controlled institution but one which had already been rendered powerless by the pro-Maduro Supreme Court.

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Venezuelan security forces have detained opposition leader Juan Guaido's deputy, a week after Mr Guaido tried to spark a military uprising to bring down President Nicolas Maduro's government.

The president complained that Bolton underestimated Maduro and called the Venezuelan leader a "tough cookie", the Post said in a report late Wednesday, citing three senior administration officials. The auto was towed, with him inside, to Caracas' notorious El Helicoide prison, the Guardian reports.

Venezuela was plunged into turmoil in January when Guaido declared himself acting president in a direct challenge to Maduro's authority. "If he is not immediately freed, there will be consequences".

The Trump administration blames Mr Maduro's socialist policies and government mismanagement for Venezuela's economic crunch, warning that 2 million more people are expected to flee by the end of the year if the crisis continues.

The U.S. has thrown its support behind Guaido but Maduro remains in the country, vowing he is not going anywhere. For the Russian Federation, even if geographically distant, Venezuela is an important geo-strategic beachhead to reaffirm its status as a great power, to stave off conflicts from its own borders and near overseas, and to annoy and distract the United States from other regions.

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