Venezuela’s Supreme-Court-in-Exile held a hearing today in which it ruled that there are legal grounds to try Maduro for corruption and money laundering, ordered his arrest and motioned to move ahead with impeachment. The purely symbolic gesture came as a result of a request made before the exiled body from former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz back in February.
The Supreme-Court-in-Exile is made up of 33 magistrates that were appointed to the Supreme Court by the opposition-controlled National Assembly in July of last year. The Maduro regime reacted to the measure by refusing to allow the magistrates to sit on the Court, and by issuing arrest warrants against them. The magistrates fled the country in waves, and now live in hiding abroad. They now constitute the Supreme-Court-in-Exile, which some regime critics argue is the one and only legitimate Supreme Court in Venezuela.
Because the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia(TSJ) [Supreme Court] is made up of loyal regime supporters, it enjoys the full backing of the Venezuelan judicial system. As a result, for all intents and purposes, the decisions of the Supreme-Court-in-Exile carry no weight whatsoever.
Today’s decision from the Court-in-Exile called on the “army and every security force” to abide by its ruling and arrest Maduro immediately so that his impeachment may proceed. The same ruling called on Interpol to issue an arrest warrant for Maduro for the same reason.
It is unlikely that any of the Court’s requests will be carried out.
Attorney General Fires Back at Exiled Court
Attorney General Tarek William Saab fired back at the magistrates of the Supreme-Court-in-Exile, saying that they would be tried for treason for ordering Maduro’s arrest. During a televised address, Saab also said that any ruling from the Court-in-Exile was meaningless, since the body has no authority.
The only justice system that Venezuela has is in Venezuela.
Saab also suggested that the Maduro regime has filed Red Notices with Interpol for the capture of the exiled magistrates, and that his office was “taking action” against them, although he provided no details on what that action might be.
The Interpol Red Notice page does not currently list any of the exiled magistrates.
Chile to Provide Special Visas to Venezuelan Migrants
The government of Chile announced today that it would provide special visas to Venezuelan migrants who have escaped the country in search of a better life elsewhere. The announcement came during a special event featuring Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, who cited “democratic responsibility” as the reason for extending the numeasure.
Considering the serious democratic crisis affecting Venezuela, a country which hosted many Chileans who sought refuge within its borders, we are creating a democratic responsibility visa.
The new visas can be requested starting on April 16, and will grant the holder residence status in Chile for one year. That status can be extended for a second year, at which time the visa holder must apply for permanent residence.
The visas can only be requested at the Chilean consulate in Caracas. It is not clear if Venezuelans currently living in Chile will be able to request the visa.
In 2017 alone, 164,866 Venezuelans arrived in Chile.