Luisa Ortega. Photograph: Miguel Gutierrez/EPA What happens next?
Pressure is set to rise after the MUD called a two-day national strike for Wednesday and Thursday, and then mass protests dubbed the taking of Caracas on Friday.
At the weekend, Maduro again described his opponents as terrorists and warned that he and his government were ready for any scenario.
It remains possible that the president will back down in the face of domestic and international pressure. But if he goes ahead with his plan, there is a chance that
Chavismo will soon be entering a new more authoritarian phase.
Maduro has been very vague about the scope of the new constitution prompting fears that this is simply a move to tighten the governments hold on power rather than to solve the countrys many problems.
Following a previous national 24-hour strike earlier this month, Maduro threatened to jail two high profile opposition leaders for treason to the motherland and said one of the aims of the new constitution would be to prosecute those who sought to destabilize the country.
According to human rights groups there are currently more than 100 political prisoners behind bars; during the three months of protests more than 1,000 people have been jailed with close to 400 civilians being tried in military tribunals.
During the 1999 constituent assembly, Congress was shut down while the assembly members debated for over six months. This time around, the opposition-led Congress has said it will not give way to the constituent assembly and has vowed to swear in a parallel judicial branch.
The next presidential elections which Maduro seems likely to lose are currently scheduled to be held in 2018, but it is unclear whether this would remain the case under a new constitution. Regional elections due in December of last year have been rescheduled for the end of this year but that too could be changed under the new constitution.
Opposition demonstrators clash with riot police in Caracas on 31 May 2017. Photograph: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images What is the international community doing?
The Organization of American States has tried repeatedly to chastise
Venezuela diplomatically, but Caracas has used oil diplomacy to ensure that small Caribbean states reliant on subsidised oil voted against critical resolutions or abstained.
Most recently, the Trump administration has threatened sanctions if Maduro goes ahead with the constituent assembly though what those might entail has not been spelled out.
Previous US sanctions have targeted Venezuelan officials accused of drug trafficking or involvement in human rights abuses.
But the US is now reportedly considering an oil embargo something that some experts warn could backfire. Venezuela relies on oil exports for 95% of its income. Revenue from those exports are used to import vital food and medicines, so while such sanctions would put a chokehold on the government, they would also further exacerbate the already critical humanitarian situation, perhaps provoking a mass exodus of refugees with serious implications for the region.