Venezuela's President Given Power To Rule By Decree

Nicolás Maduro says the powers are necessary for an "economic offensive"


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's legislature on Tuesday gave President Nicolás Maduro decree powers that he says are necessary for an "economic offensive" against the spiraling inflation and food shortages buffeting the country's economy ahead of important municipal elections.

The 50-year-old former union activist and bus driver, who succeeded Hugo Chávez after the mercurial leader died of cancer in March, secured just enough votes for the measure to pass after a dissident lawmaker was recently stripped of her seat. Opponents warned that Maduro, who blames the economic crisis on private businessmen conniving with agents of the U.S. government, is leading Venezuela to ruin while trampling on individual liberties.