Venezuela's President Maduro activates Defense Council to seek solution to crisis

Updated: 2016-10-27 10:25


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Venezuela's President Maduro activates Defense Council to seek solution to crisis

Demonstrators clash with members of Venezuelan National Guard during a rally demanding a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, in San Cristobal, Venezuela October 26, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

CARACAS - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro activated on Wednesday the nation's Defense Council on a permanent basis to find a solution to the country's political, economic and social crisis.

The Constitution's Article 323 says that the Defense Council is the highest advisory organ of the state to plan and assess matters related to the defense of the country.

At a press conference from the presidential place, Maduro said the Council would attend "the end of 2016 with the best criteria and knowledge possible so that...peace may reign."

The first meeting of this Council was attended by the executive vice-president, Aristóbulo Istúriz, several ministers and representatives of the judiciary. However, although National Assembly President, Henry Ramos Allup, was invited, the opposition leader did not attend.

At the press conference, Maduro said that Allup was continuing to go against the Constitution. He added that he wanted to hold a "consultation with all sectors, workers, farmers and professional moments. There will be a permanent social dialogue."

Despite his criticism of Allup, Maduro also called all actors to join the first phase of dialogue between the government and the opposition on Oct 30 in the island of Margarita.

Maduro then stated the Defense Council would seek to tackle the economic situation, which has risen to over 700 percent this year.

"I ask this Council to make proposals in the best national interest," he expressed.

Finally, he said that the Council would seek to make reparations to victims of political violence and to guarantee the lack of foreign interventionism.

"Venezuela is the target of international persecution and we are forced to reject any attempt at intervention," vowed Maduro.

On Tuesday, the National Assembly, in majority controlled by the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), voted to open a political trial against Maduro for causing the crisis and ordered him to appear on Nov 1.