What happened to checks and balances? Venezuela’s judicial branch, aligned with President Nicolas Maduro, has declared the opposition-led Congress in contempt of court, effectively seizing legislative power from the National Assembly. The opposition’s been swift to criticize what it sees as nascent dictatorship. The U.S. State Department condemned the move, while Peru recalled its ambassador in protest and the Organization of American States described it as a “self-coup” on Maduro’s part. Fourteen OAS members, including the U.S., have called for fresh elections as Maduro’s opposition encourages mass public demonstrations.