Venezuelan Lawmakers Come to Blows on Floor of National Assembly
February 11, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — A fistfight broke out between two members of Venezuela’s National Assembly Thursday, The Associated Press reports.
The fight erupted when opposition legislator Alfonso Marquina approached the podium where high government officials were taking questions during a debate. Marquina said a group of Chávez supporters yelling from the gallery should be silenced.
Lawmakers began pushing and shoving before the podium as Barquina made his request, and Marquina ended up trading blows with pro-Chávez legislator Henry Villanueva.
Security guards and fellow legislators broke up the scuffle, as the Assembly’s vice president called for calm.
Venezuela’s Congress has seen a rise in tensions since the new session began in January. Chávez supporters have controlled the Assembly since 2005, when the opposition boycotted elections. But now the opposition controls more than one-third of the legislature’s seats, making it more difficult for Chávez supporters to pass some measures.
It was the second time lawmakers had come to blows since January.
For footage of the scuffle, check out the YouTube video below.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón denied having a drinking problem, despite claims from some members of the lower house of the Mexican Congress that he is a drunk.
- Arizona filed a lawsuit Thursday against the federal government, which alleged that Washington failed to secure the state’s border with Mexico.
- Colorado lawmaker Republican Rep. Randy Baumgardner plans to back off a measure for an immigration bill similar to Arizona’s because of the cost to taxpayers.
- A politically charged perjury case against an ex-CIA agent and anti-communist militant ground to a halt Thursday, after the defense accused a key witness from Cuba of being an undercover counter-intelligence agent.
- A baseball trainer in the Dominican Republic who has coached players who went on to the major leagues has been detained on suspicion of sexually abusing two teenage players in 2003.
- The 43 Guatemalan migrants detained in the Mexican city of Reynosa were not kidnapped and had been staying voluntarily at the house where they were found, the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
- The Brooklyn Museum is preparing to give about 5,000 pre-Columbian artifacts in its collection to Costa Rica as part of a housekeeping move to trim its vast holdings.
- An oil pipeline in southern Colombia remained inactive after being bombed Tuesday by suspected rebels.
- Peru’s Congress approved a measure Thursday that lowers a value-added sales tax to 18 percent from 19 percent.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales abandoned a public event in the face of an angry protests over food shortages and price rises.
- A U.S. government official said the United States views its relations with Brazil as being in a “sweet spot” with new leader, Dilma Rousseff.
- The Chilean peso rose to the strongest level in a month against the U.S dollar, on expectations of an interest-rate rise next week.
- The Argentine government plans to fine the country’s top three power distributors for allowing blackouts to occur in late December.
Image: Alex Lanz @ Flickr.