Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles has been banned from holding political office for 15 years. Capriles is a leading opposition figure and ran against Chavez in the 2012 elections and Maduro in the 2013 elections. He was favorite to run against Maduro in next year’s presidential elections, and consistently polls as one of the most popular political figures in the country.
The ban came from the Comptroller General of the Republic, which alleges that Capriles has engaged in corrupt practices as governor of Miranda state. . Capriles has been the victim of a campaign of administrative persecution through the Comptroller General’s office for years.
The ban against Capriles comes as the Maduro regime faces increased pressure from the international community over its unashamed turn towards authoritarianism. Anti-regime protests this week have turned areas of Caracas into battle zones, and an opposition demonstration scheduled for tomorrow in the capital city is expected to be the largest in years.
Constitutional lawyer Jose Vicente Haro called the decision to ban Capriles from office “completely unconstitutional”, since the Constitution grants all citizens the right to run and hold public office, and this right cannot be revoked.
… this decision only demonstrates even more what we’ve already said: there is an ongoing coup d’etat underway in Venezuela carried out by the government against the Constitution and the people.
The MUD also had the following message for Maduro:
To Maduro we say: none of your actions will stop our people and our leadership from continuing to take to the streets to demand the democracy that you have decided to take from us. Venezuelans know about Henrique Capriles’ history of struggle, and we know that this will not stop his efforts to take Venezuela back from the hands of a group of people who are trying to remain in power by force and who do not care about the lives of Venezuelans.
Almagro: “Only the People” Can Decide Who Holds Office
Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro reacted to news of Caprile’s ban through his Twitter account. Almagro, who has a track record of holding a hard line against the Maduro regime, said:
The only ones who decide who can’t hold office are the people and through elections. This is a typical tactic from a dictatorship that violates civil and political rights.
Protester Killed by Police
Last night, a 19-year-old engineering student named Jairo Ortiz was shot in the chest and killed by a state security agent while he was protesting against the Maduro regime in the city of Carrizal, located just south of Caracas. People’s Defender Tareck William Saab called Ortiz’s death “a serious crime” and called for an investigation into the event.
Ortiz becomes the latest protester to die as a result of repression from the Maduro regime since February 2015, when a 14-year-old boy was killed by National Guard soldiers during a protest in San Cristobal, Tachira.
An eye witnesses at the scene told reporters that the shot that killed Ortiz “came from where the [National Guard soldiers] were”. The shooting took place at approximately 9:30 PM local time.
A protester who was with Ortiz when he was shot said:
Lots of [National Guard soldiers] were shooting. First, it was tear gas canisters, and that started really early. Then it was rubber bullets. We can’t say for sure which soldier it was specifically because there was a whole platoon there.
Ortiz had plans to immigrate to Colombia in June.
Reverol: Ortiz’s Killer “Acted Of His Accord”
Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace Nestor Reverol released a statement today today in which he said that a National Bolivarian Police officer had killed Ortiz, but that the officer had “acted of his own accord”.
The statement explains that the officer’s name is Rohenluis Leonel Mata Rojas, and that he was not participating in anti-protest activities at the time of the shooting. The statement also alleges that Ortiz was not participating in a protest at the time of the shooting, which runs contrary to witness statements.
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