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Judge of the Supreme Court of Venezuela, Christian Zerpa, flees to the United States



  Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro looks wistful at a press conference in Caracas

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Reuters

Caption

Nicolás Maduro won the much-boycotted presidential election in 201
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Judge of the Supreme Court of Venezuela, Christian Zerpa, has fled to the US to protest President Nicolás Maduro's second term.

Last year's elections were "not free and competitive," the former Maduro loyalist told a Florida radio station. 19659007] And he accused President Maduro of systematically manipulating the affairs of the Supreme Court.

The court then stated that Mr. Zerpa had fled the allegations of sexual harassment.

The opposition parties boycotted the vote in 2018 and called it a shame. Venezuela Crisis: A Country in Freefall

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  • Mr. Zerpa had been an important ally of Mr. Maduro in the court and had written a central legal opinion in 2016 in which he justified the President's decision, to withdraw the Congress of its powers.

    His ruling Socialist Party had lost control of the parliamentary legislative branch against the opposition in a landslide vote earlier this year.

    However, in an interview with the television station EVTV in Miami on Sunday, Mr. Zerpa called the Supreme Court "an appendix of the executive," in which he said the president would tell the judges how to rule in certain cases.

    He said he did not publicly criticize the 2018 election results to ensure he and his family could safely flee to the US.

    Image copyright
    Reuters

    Caption

    Millions of Venezuelans have left their country to escape the ongoing crisis

    Mr. Maduro is to be officially inaugurated on January 10 for a second term.

    Fourteen countries have recalled their ambassadors from Caracas in protest of the vote last May, and the US imposed new economic sanctions on the country.

    Even before the elections took place, the United States, Canada, the European Union and a dozen Latin American countries said they would not recognize the results.

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    The opposition boycotted the election, while the government had excluded many others from participating.

    In recent years, millions of people have fled Venezuela while inflation and chronic food shortages have exploded.


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