Venezuela's Guaido stripped of immunity
CARACAS- Agence France-Presse
Venezuelan lawmakers loyal to President Nicolas Maduro stripped opposition leader Juan Guaido's immunity on April 2 and authorized the high court to criminally prosecute him for proclaiming himself the crisis-hit country's ruler.
Guaido- whose claim is recognized by over 50 countries- had earlier expressed fears of being abducted by government agents following a request by the Supreme Court to the Constituent Assembly to lift his parliamentary immunity.
Critics of the controversial two-year-old body say it was created to rubber-stamp Maduro's decisions and sideline the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
The Constituent Assembly's president, Diosdado Cabello, announced pro-Maduro lawmakers had unanimously authorized the Supreme Court to prosecute Guaido, leaving him also liable to be charged for breaching a January 29 government ban on leaving the country.
"The people are determined and nothing is going to stop us," said a defiant Guaido in response.
Parallel to the political battle, the country has been hit by a series of devastating blackouts that have left millions without water.
Maduro - whose government has blamed "terrorists" for alleged attacks that have damaged the country's main hydroelectric power plant- announced that he was appointing Igor Gavidia Leon to replace retired general Luis Motta Dominguez as energy minister.