The Maduro regime ramped up its persecution of opposition figure Freddy Guevara today, as the Constituent Assembly heard a formal request by attorney general Tarek William Saab to bring Guevara to trial. The regime is accusing Guevara of instigating a crime and conspiracy due to his role in the anti-government protests that took place in the country earlier this year.
While Guevara was unequivocal in his calls for peaceful protests, the regime argues that Guevara and other opposition leaders are responsible for the approximately 135 deaths that occurred during the unrest. Guevara–who is the vice president of the National Assembly–was stripped of his parliamentary immunity on Friday, a move that likely signaled his imminent arrest.
Speaking at the Constituent Assembly today, Saab laid out his case against Guevara. The main thrust of his attack against the opposition figure was that regardless of Guevara’s words, his calls for peaceful protests could not have been understood as such. Saab explained:
No one can say that these were calls for peaceful actions (…) police and National Guard [soldiers] were shot, had rocks thrown at them, and were stabbed due to these calls [for protests].
Article 68 of the Constitution states that every Venezuelan citizen has the right to peaceful protest. There is no criminal law provision banning calls for peaceful protests. The acts that Saab outlined in his speech–assault and murder–are crimes, and are separate and distinct from activities related to peaceful protests.
Saab also said that two unnamed youth had named Guevara as the mastermind of a plan to unleash violent protest across the country, and suggested that the youths’ comments were enough evidence to bring Guevara to trial. Saab said that Guevara’s actions “might have ended in civil war”, and blamed him for the deaths that took place during the unrest.
Cabello: Guevara is “a Coward”
The vice president of the PSUV, Diosdado Cabello, launched a vitriolic attack against Guevara last night on his Twitter account. Cabello, who is one of the most powerful men in Venezuela, played on the regime line that Guevara is directly responsible for the deaths that occurred during this year’s protests, and criticized him from fleeing regime persecution.
Below, the tweets:
Freddy Guevara, the coward, pushed youth towards violence, terrorism and death, and now he’s hiding and abandoning them. He won’t show his face. Shame!
Cabello also gloated over the defeat of the anti-government protest movement, calling attention to the fact that Guevara said in repeated occassions that the street protests against the regime were working and that the dictatorship would soon fall:
From that arrogant Freddy Guevara who said that the regime only had hours left, now all that’s left is a coward who doesn’t take responsibility for his own actions!
Bernal: “Little Hitler” Guevara “Doesn’t Have the Balls” to “Face Justice”
Cabello’s toxic attack was not the only one launched against Guevara by a high-profile chavista. Freddy Bernal, the head of the CLAP food distribution system, also used his Twitter account to attack the opposition leader.
Bernal referred to Guevara as “little Hitler”, and used a crude expression to mock Guevara’s decision to seek refuge in the Chilean embassy in Caracas.
Below, the tweets:
That mini Hitler [Freddy Guevara] had the courage to order [people] to burn down the country and ask for an intervention, but he doesn’t have the balls to face the law and take responsibility for his actions before justice.
[Freddy Guevara] is a criminal, a terrorist, [and] a murderer who involved children in violent protests.
Chile Would Grant Guevara Asylum if Requested
The government of Chile announced today that it would grant political asylum to Freddy Guevara were he to make the request.
Paula Narvaez, a Chilean government spokesperson, said today that President Bachelet “had every intention” to grant an asylum request from Guevara, and that Guevara merely had to ask.
Guevara is the sixth Venezuelan citizen to take refuge in the Chilean embassy in Caracas this year under regime persecution. The first five were magistrates appointed to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) by the National Assembly in July, a move that the Maduro regime saw as illegal.
Guevara has been under the protection of Chilean embassy staff since Saturday.
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