Venezuela politician arrested by tow truck

Venezuela politician arrested by tow truck

"We warn the people of Venezuela and the global community: the regime has kidnapped the first vice-president" of the National Assembly, Guaido wrote in a Twitter post.

Venezuelan intelligence agents on Wednesday detained Edgar Zambrano, the deputy leader of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, for supporting an attempted uprising on April 30.

The latest regime actions ratcheted up tensions ahead of a national demonstration Guaido called for Saturday to reject measures taken by the Supreme Court against opposition lawmakers.

Venezuela's Supreme Court had authorized legal actions against the seven who have been charged with conspiracy, rebellion, and treason, among others. On Wednesday, the court accused three others of the same crimes.

The opposition says Maduro has stacked the court with his own supporters, while the USA government this week threatened to sanction all its members.

"We will continue to use the full weight of the USA government to hold accountable those who subvert democracy and the Venezuelan constitutional order, and threaten the safety of the duly-elected National Assembly of Venezuela", a senior White House official said on Thursday, on condition of anonymity.

"Maduro and his accomplices are those directly responsible for Zambrano's security", the embassy tweeted.

It warned of "consequences" if he is not immediately released.

The US, the European Union and several Latin American states criticized Zambrano's arrest. Maduro describes Guaido as a collaborator in a US -engineered coup plot.

After being arrested, Zambrano gave investigators important information related to the failed coup orchestrated by National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, said Cabello. The vehicle was towed, with him inside, to Caracas' notorious El Helicoide prison, the Guardian reports.

It was not yet clear if Zambrano was already at the Helicoide.

Mr Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, denouncing Mr Maduro's rule as illegitimate after he secured re-election past year in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent.

Maduro has overseen the collapse of Venezuela's economy, which has shrunk by half over the past five years, forcing more than 3million Venezuelans to emigrate.

The decision to strip legislators of their immunity and to arrest Zambrano was condemned as "unconstitutional" in a statement on Thursday by the Lima Group, a regional bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Canada. Authorities have not yet tried to arrest him, but Maduro has said he will 'face justice'.

The opposition says Maduro has stacked the court with his own supporters, while the US government this week threatened to sanction all its members.

After a failed coup attempt on 30 April Venezuela's Constituent Assembly stripped Edgar Jose Zambrano, Luis Florido, Henry Ramos Allup, Richard Blanco, Marianela Lopez, Simon Calzadilla and Americo de Grazia of their paliamentary immunity.

President Trump did not mention Edgar Zambrano but said the U.S. would stand with the people of Venezuela "for however long it takes".

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