Venezuela's all-powerful Constituent National Assembly (ANC) voted unanimously on Tuesday to put opposition leaders on trial for allegedly encouraging the United States to impose economic sanctions on the leftist government in Caracas.
In a unanimous vote, the 545 Chavista members making up the ANC approved a decree to "jointly initiate with the appropriate state organs an historic trial for treason against the homeland of those who may be involved in promoting these immoral actions against the interests of the Venezuelan people."
In addition, the decree states that "the national political actors with a marked anti-Venezuelan character who have promoted the economic aggression and the intervention against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (are hereby declared to be) traitors to the homeland."
The text of the decree was read at the close of Tuesday's ANC session by the body's most powerful figure - a former government minister and the first vice president of the governing PSUV party - Diosdado Cabello.
Among the motivations for the decree, Cabello said that the opposition MUD alliance "has worked in a sustained manner to achieve" the US sanctions.
The Chavista official noted that MUD on Sunday issued a communique in which it backed the sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump against the government of Nicolas Maduro, blaming the Venezuelan leader for the country's international isolation and its ongoing humanitarian crisis.
In addition, Cabello blamed the "financial blockade of the (US) government against the Venezuelan people" and denounced an alleged plan hatched in Washington with the complicity of other governments in the region seeking to create a humanitarian emergency situation to justify military intervention in Venezuela.
Trump on Friday signed an executive order prohibiting negotiations on new debt issued by the Venezuelan government and its state-run petroleum company, the first sanctions on the country's financial system.
The measures - which are intended to prevent Maduro from using the US financial system to help him install a dictatorship via the ANC - also prohibit negotiations on certain existing Venezuelan public bonds as well as payments of dividends to the Venezuelan government.