CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuela’s parliament granted President Nicolas Maduro decree powers yesterday for the rest of 2015 in a move he says is to defend the country from U.S. meddling but opponents decry as evidence of autocracy.
In a noisy National Assembly session, ruling Socialist Party legislators, who have a majority, applauded the “Enabling Law” as a legitimate response to a U.S. declaration that Venezuela is a security threat and sanctions on seven officials. “They (the United States) want to stick their hands into Venezuela’s wealth, just as they have done in other countries,” ruling party legislator Tania Diaz said, presenting the “anti-imperialist” Enabling Law to parliament.
Outside, red-clad Maduro supporters chanted and held placards proclaiming: “Yankees go home.”
In their speeches, angry opposition lawmakers said Maduro was cynically exploiting the diplomatic flare-up with Washington to amass powers, justify repression and distract Venezuelans fro