Venezuela’s Maduro seeks decree powers to face U.S. ‘imperialism’

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro addresses the national assembly in CaracasBy Andrew Cawthorne CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday asked parliament for decree powers in response to new U.S. sanctions, in a move opposition critics slammed as a power-grab. If as expected the government-controlled National Assembly approves his request for an “Enabling Law”, it would be the second time the 52-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez has gained these expanded powers since winning election in 2013. “I’ve come to ask for an Enabling Law to confront the aggression of the most powerful country in the world, the United States, against this beautiful nation,” Maduro told parliament. “This is a law that will prepare our country, may we never be caught off guard.” His adversaries say he is using the worst flare-up with Washington during his nearly two-year rule to justify autocratic governance, sidetrack parliament and distract attention from a shrinking economy and chronic product shortages.

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