Venezuala president initiates Defense Council as crisis solution

Caracas, Oct 27 (IANS) Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro activated 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, Maduro said the Council would attend “the end of 2016 with the best criteria and knowledge possible so that peace may reign”, Xinhua news agency reported.

The first meeting of this Council was attended by the executive vice-president, Aristóbulo Istúriz, several ministers and representatives of the judiciary.

However, National Assembly President and opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup did not attend, despite being invited.

Noting that that Allup was going against the Constitution, Maduro said at the press conference that he wanted a “permanent social dialogue”.

Maduro also called on all actors to join the first phase of dialogue between the government and the opposition on October 30.

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

On Tuesday, the National Assembly, in majority controlled by the opposition, voted to open a political trial against Maduro for causing the economic crisis.

Maduro responded to the vote by calling it a “parliamentary coup,” and called the all emergency meeting in Caracas on Wednesday afternoon.