Venezuela's Opposition Leader Stripped Of Immunity, Could Face Prosecution

Lawmakers loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have lifted opposition leader Juan Guaido's immunity and authorized his criminal prosecution by the Supreme Court.

The move by the National Constituent Assembly paves the way for Guaido's potential arrest for allegedly violating the constitution when he declared himself interim president.

Critics of the controversial two-year-old constituent assembly say it was created to rubber-stamp Maduro's decisions and sideline the Guaido-controlled National Assembly. 

The court requested that the rival assembly lift Guaido's immunity for usurping Maduro's powers after he declared himself interim president on January 23 -- a move which has been recognized by over 50 countries.

Guaido had earlier voiced fears of being abducted by government agents following the court's request.

The April 2 court ruling cited Guaido's violation of a ban on his travel outside Venezuela when he visited neighboring countries last month.

Besides the political battle, Venezuela has been affected by three major blackouts in March, worsening already dire living and economic conditions in the country.

Maduro's government has blamed "terrorists" for the alleged attacks that have damaged the country's main hydroelectric power plant.

On March 31, Maduro announced 30 days of electricity rationing after his government said it was shortening the workday and keeping schools closed due to blackouts.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP