CARACAS — Loyalists of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela’s newly created super congress moved to consolidate government power Saturday, stripping the independent chief prosecutor of her job and cordoning off her headquarters in a move signaling a swiftly widening crackdown on political dissent.
The new body, elected last Sunday in a vote decried internationally as a power grab, was installed Friday, with its leaders vowing to back Maduro’s calls to move against political opponents. Those threats translated into fast action, with hundreds of troops surrounding chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz’s office at dawn. Ortega Díaz was the most prominent senior administration official in Venezuela who was also a vocal government critic.
It appeared to signal a dangerous new phase in Venezuela’s break with democracy, suggesting fears that Maduro would use the new congress, known as the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), to rubber stamp a fresh campaign against opponents were coming …