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The decree was issued a day after the National Assembly said it will ignore the decisions of the constituent assembly, and two days after a small group of soldiers and civilians from Carabobo state declared themselves in rebellion against Maduro's government, seeking "to restore constitutional order" in the country.

The Venezuelan Constituent Assembly has ratified Nicolas Maduro as head of state and of the government, as well as the "commander-in-chief of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces" (FANB).

Portugal's foreign minister said recently his country always defines its position based on "what is more beneficial and what is more harmful" to the 500,000 Portuguese living in Venezuela.

These follow last month's USA sanctions on Venezuela over the election of a loyalist legislative superbody that has the power to rewrite the constitution, which Washington called "illegitimate" and in service of a "dictator". Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro on August 7 on his public television show Sundays with Maduro welcomed this intention to participate and again repeated his call for dialogue and reconciliation via the electoral route. "My commitment to restoring freedom in Venezuela remains intact".

Maduro's loyalist Supreme Court has, meanwhile, stepped up the prosecution of opposition politicians including Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the wealthy Chacao district of capital city Caracas. Opposition leaders decried both rulings, calling them part of an ongoing campaign by the high court to illegally remove anti-government mayors from their elected posts.

Gerardo Blyde, an opposition mayor of Baruta, a city of more than 350,000 near the capital, equated it to a sort of "Russian roulette". Yet Maduro's allies made clear their intentions, stating they decide who gets to run for office. "By not doing so, we would be validating the dictatorship". The Maduro regime desperately needs the currency infusions because it has $6 billion of debt payments coming due this year and is estimated to have only $10 billion in cash remaining, reports the Associated Press.

"In addition to being an invalidly constituted body, since it was not convened by the people, and whose election is suspected of fraud, the constituent assembly doesn't have the right to appropriate the seat of the National Assembly".

The European Union, meanwhile, announced its 28 member states would not recognize the Constituyente after a meeting in Brussels where participants nevertheless avoided debating the issue of slapping "targeted" sanctions against those deemed responsible for the crisis in Venezuela.