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Venezuela's Maduro pardons opposition politicians

Venezuela’s Maduro Pardons Opposition Politicians

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday pardoned more than 100 politicians and associates of opposition leader Juan Guaido “in the interest of promoting national reconciliation,” the government said.
Mr. Guaido’s assistant Roberto Marrero and MPs Gilber Caro and Renzo Prieto were among the names read by Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez live on state television.
The three men were released in Caracas on Monday evening just hours after the announcement, according to opposition leaders. Other detainees have also been released.
The presidential decree “comes into force upon publication” after which the courts “must implement immediate measures to release the persons mentioned,” Rodriguez said.
Marrero was arrested in March 2019 and accused of being part of a “terrorist cell” planning attacks to destabilize the Maduro government.
“Freedom is always welcome, no matter what people say,” he told the media as he left the intelligence headquarters.
Guaido himself was not among those pardoned, despite several cases opened against him.
He insisted that Maduro’s government was using pardons “as coins” to “legitimize a farce”, referring to the upcoming parliamentary elections.
“It’s a trap, and we are not going to fall into the trap,” he wrote on Twitter, stressing that “you cannot forgive those who are already innocent or who have immunity”.
The list of 110 included lawmakers whose immunities had been lifted and people with pending court cases, including opposition lawmakers living in exile.
Opposition member of Parliament, Freddy Guevara, who fled to the Chilean embassy in the capital Caracas in 2017 after leading anti-government protests that killed 125, was among those pardoned.
The Supreme Court – which has been accused of bending to the regime – has ordered that he be denied the freedom to leave the country.
Also among those pardoned is Henry Ramos Allup, the leader of the Democratic Action Party, the oldest in Venezuela.
In January 2019, Guaido challenged Mr Maduro’s authority by declaring himself interim president, quickly receiving support from more than 50 countries.
The pardons announcement came a day after Maduro claimed to support measures to bring “reconciliation” and “dialogue” to the deeply polarized South American country ahead of the December parliamentary elections.
Guaido and leading opposition figures have already vowed to boycott the polls due to a lack of transparency after the Supreme Court-appointed election officials – a role that should have been played by the legislature controlled by the opposition.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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