CARACAS (CBSMiami) – The Venezuelan government is making it harder for opposition groups to take to the streets.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court imposed a jail term on the mayor of Caracas, Ramon Muchacho, who is a member of the opposition.
Muchacho’s crime: Defying orders to keep transit moving in areas routinely blocked and barricaded by anti-government demonstrators.
His arrest is another sign that the government of Nicolas Maduro is consolidating power and silencing the opposition by not allowing them to demonstrate, while his supporters are free to hold rallies throughout the country.
Meanwhile, foreign ministers from 14 countries met in Peru in hopes of finding a regional response to Venezuela’s political crisis.
Peru’s president has been a vocal critic of the Maduro regime, but the region has had trouble agreeing on collective actions.
The United Nations Human Rights Office also has Venezuela on its radar for alleged widespread and systematic use of excessive force.
“The interviews conducted remotely by the UN Human Rights team paint a picture of widespread and systematic use of excessive force and arbitrary detentions against demonstrators in Venezuela. The team’s findings also indicate patterns of other human rights violations, including violent house raids, torture and ill treatment of those detained in connection with the protests,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the United Nations Human Rights Office.
Despite the strong arm tactics by the Maduro government, the opposition called for another nationwide protest Tuesday.
The opposition is struggling to regain its footing since last week’s seating of a loyalist special assembly, which is now busy rewriting the country’s constitution.
Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature is refusing to recognize the new constitutional assembly as well as a new government prosecutor who replaces an outspoken government critic.