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(CNSNews.com) – The head of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, a body which critics say is dominated by Maduro regime loyalists, has lashed out at Vice President Mike Pence for warning that the U.S. will hold all of its magistrates accountable if the court “does not return to its constitutional mandate to uphold the rule of law.”
Maikel Moreno told the state-run Venezolana de Televisión network that Pence’s comments were “disrespectful” and “despicable,” and a bid to compel the court to support the “coup” attempt led by opposition leader Juan Guaido.
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“We categorically and forcefully reject the threat made by Mike Pence, who in a disrespectful and interfering manner intends to subject the Venezuelan judicial authorities to threats that violate the principles of independence of self-determination and sovereignty,” the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias state news agency quoted him as saying.
Moreno said the remarks amounted to an “ultimatum that the Supreme Court should stand aside from democracy and favor a coup d’état.”
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Pence, he continued, sought “to place the nation at the service of the imperial interests of the warlike government in the White House.”
“This unlawful, despicable, intolerable action violates the norms and principles of international law that govern relations between civilized nations.”
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Addressing the Washington Conference on the Americans at the State Department on Tuesday, Pence warned that while the administration’s approach to Nicolás Maduro’s regime has been tough, it could – as President Trump has said – get “a lot tougher.”
Then he turned his focus onto the court.
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“The Supreme Court was established to protect individual rights and the rule of law and, sadly, of late, it has become a political tool for a regime that usurps democracy, indicts political prisoners, and promotes authoritarianism,” he said.
“It is time for the Supreme Court in Venezuela to return to its founding purpose,” Pence continued.
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