Venezuela's pro-government constitutional assembly is taking over powers of the opposition-led congress.
Delegates to the all-powerful assembly unanimously approved a decree Friday giving it the authority to pass legislation on a range of issues affecting Venezuela's security and sovereignty.
The dramatic move follows a refusal by the congressional leadership to swear an oath of loyalty to the assembly, whose election the opposition considers illegitimate.
The government has argued that opposition lawmakers behind months of anti-government protests are working with the U.S. to violently oust President Nicolas Maduro.
In South Florida Friday, Venezuelans in Doral said the move cemented what many of them feared.
"Today, I think Venezuela died, the democracy in Venezuela died," said Pancho Tosta, a former politician in Venezuela. "It's the last shot from the assemblea constituyente from the government. Venezuela died today and I'm very sorry and I feel very bad."