January 15, 2019 / 4:51 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Venezuela congress seeks freeze on Maduro gov't foreign accounts - document

(Adds context on election, details from documents, bylines)

By Mayela Armas and Corina Pons

CARACAS, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s opposition-run congress is considering a measure that would ask dozens of foreign governments to seek a freeze on bank accounts controlled by the government of President Nicolas Maduro, according to draft documents seen by Reuters.

Congress is also preparing to formally declare Maduro a usurper following his inauguration on Jan. 10 to a disputed second term, according to a second draft document, which says all of his actions will be null and void. The United States and many Latin American nations say his leadership is illegitimate or that he has become a dictator.

Congress will formally request that governments instruct regulatory agencies to “prohibit any movement of liquid assets by the Venezuelan state in local bank accounts” due to the Maduro government’s lack of legitimacy, according to one of the documents.

The governments include those in the United States, European Union, and Latin American neighbors such as Chile and Brazil.

The legislature is preparing to formally declare that Maduro has usurped power, according to a second draft document, following a 2018 election that the opposition widely boycotted on the grounds that it was rigged and many governments refused to recognize. Congress would consider all of Maduro’s decisions null and void.

Both documents were on the legislature’s agenda for Tuesday’s session, and legislators told Reuters they expected both measures to be approved in the afternoon.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The pro-government Supreme Court, which has been in open conflict with the legislature since the opposition took it over in 2016, has ruled that all laws that the institution passes are null. (Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Richard Chang)

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