[3/31/17]  Venezuela’s socialist government stripped its congress of power late Thursday in what opposition leaders are calling a coup.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that all powers vested under the legislative body will be transferred to the country’s highest court. Venezuela’s opposition legislators are calling this a coup, as the ruling effectively cedes total control of the country to the Socialist Party, and opposition leaders are now officially calling Venezuela “a dictatorship.”

“Nicolás Maduro has staged a coup d’état,” Julio Borges, leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly and a major opposition figure, said Thursday. “What this ruling means is that, for the first time, Nicolás Maduro has all the power to enact laws, assign contracts, incur foreign debt and persecute fellow Venezuelans.”

The Peruvian government broke off diplomatic relations with Venezuela over the ruling, calling it “an arbitrary measure that disrupts the rule of law and constitutes a breakup of the constitutional and democratic order.”

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