New Venezuela assembly sacks government critic Luisa Ortega

Venezuela's currency the Bolivar has crumbled amid the political unrest in the country

Venezuela's currency the Bolivar has crumbled amid the political unrest in the country

The constituent assembly, packed with members of Maduro's ruling socialist party, was installed Friday.

Former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, 48, was elected President of the 545-member Assembly.

The assembly is due to meet again on Saturday, and Ms Rodriguez said it would take swift action.

"Don't think we're going to wait weeks, months or years", she said Friday.

In her words, the "violent fascists, who are waging economic war on the people" will face justice.

Mercosur suspended Venezuela late a year ago over what member nations said was its failure to comply with commitments on democracy and human rights.The Brazilian foreign ministry said in a statement that the foreign ministers of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay will meet Saturday.

The Vatican said the new Constituent Assembly should be "avoided or suspended" since its "foments a climate of tension and conflict" which "mortgages the future" of the country, rather than fostering reconciliation and peace.

"Today they're enjoying a pyrrhic victory, without a doubt", said opposition lawmaker Freddy Guevara, who joined a group of opposition sympathizers in an upscale neighbourhood of Caracas.

"The United States will not recognise the National Constituent Assembly", spokeswoman Heath Nauert said. But to no avail: the Constituent is Maduros protest, his only way to maintain some semblance of power after losing the National Assembly in late 2015 by a landslide.

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Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Wednesday that Tehran will respond "firmly" to the U.S. House's move in approving new sanctions against Iran, describing the move as a "clear hostile action".

On the eve of the assembly's installation, the Spanish Embassy in Caracas was attacked with gasoline bombs.

She was also banned from leaving the country and her assets were seized.

Defying calls from Pope Francis and countries around the world as well as the threat of expanded USA sanctions, the body met for the first time in a hall across a courtyard from the Caracas building used by the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

Smartmatic, the British technology firm contracted to handle the ballot, said Wednesday the figure of 8.1 million votes was inflated by at least 1 million.

"We want to dialogue with the government of President Nicolas Maduro", said Fitzpatrick during an interview with Spanish news site EFE.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the election of the assembly amid violence over the weekend "has durably worsened the crisis in Venezuela".

The statement called on all political actors in Venezuela, particularly the government, to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms were respected.

The two had been under house arrest but security force officers hustled them off to a military prison before dawn on Tuesday. Ledezma was later returned to house arrest after spending three days in jail. Meanwhile, food, essentials and medicine are scarce, the decline of the currency is accelerating, inflation is in triple digits, reserves to pay sovereign debt are dwindling, and thousands of Venezuelans are leaving to seek survival in neighboring countries.

Assembly delegates voted to replace her with Tarek William Saab, who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration for failing to protect protesters from abuses in his role as the nation's top human rights official.