In a speech on Friday, interim president Juan Guaido asked Venezuelans to print out versions of the recently-passed amnesty law and distribute it to civil servants and soldiers, with the goal of educating them about the measure and to try to convince them to abandon the Maduro regime.
The law, which was approved by the National Assembly on January 15, accomplishes two feats. First, it erases all state proceedings and actions against politically persecuted persons carried out between January 1 1999 and the present day. Second, it provides legal safeguards for regime officials–including soldiers–who abandon the Maduro regime and “collaborate” with restoring democracy in the country, and promises that they will be able to participate fully in a post-Maduro Venezuela.
National Assembly deputy Delsa Solorzano shared a condensed version of the amnesty law through her Twitter account, my translation of which follows below:
[Title: What’s the Amnesty Law?]
[It] eliminates civil, penal, administrative, penal, and tax responsibility of the investigations, proceedings, sentences or sanctions that have been handed out between January 1 1999 and today.
[It] grants every constitutional guarantee in favour of civil and military workers who, when acting based on articles 333 and 350 of the constitution, collaborate with restoring democracy.
The objective of [the amnesty law] is to bring about a political transition through the carrying out of free and transparent elections with universal, direct and secret suffrage.
Soldiers and police officers who contribute to the restoration of democratic order will be able to re-insert themselves into the democratic life of the country.
UNITED TO END THE END OF THE USURPATION AND TO RESCUE DEMOCRACY
Far from trying to convince regime officials to break the law, the Amnesty Law is grounded on the Venezuelan constitution: in particular, articles 333 and 350. Taken together, these articles establish a duty on every Venezuelan to actively restore constitutional order and disown dictatorships.
Below, the text of the two articles:
Article 333: This Constitution will not cease to be in effect if it ceases to be observed due to an act of force or because it is repealed in any way other than what is outlined in this document.
Were this to occur, every citizen regardless of whether or not they have been granted authority, has the duty to collaborate in the re-establishment of its effective observance.
Article 350: The people of Venezuela, loyal to their republican tradition, their struggle for Independence, peace, and liberty, shall disown any regime, law or authority that goes against the democratic values, principles and guarantees or that undermines human rights.
The video below captured the moment that a National Guard officer talked to demonstrators in El Paraiso, Caracas earlier today. In the video, the officer makes clear to the demonstrators that he and his soldiers are fully supportive of Maduro, but that he will nevertheless accept the copy of the law that they want to give him:
Officer: … that this is a security zone that belongs to the general command.
Man: Right, that’s why–
Officer: I also want you to know that the National Revolutionary Armed Forces [sic] are with our commander-in-chief Nicolas Maduro, with the constitution and with the law. In other words, we are loyal to our commander in chief. The The National Bolivarian Armed Forces, and the National Bolviarian Guard.
So, let’s respect our spaces. I’m going to receive what you’ve come here to give me, and I’ll ask you to please [leave].
Someone caught a less cordial exchange, this one at a National Guard outpost in Petare. There, demonstrators shouted “soldiers, we are waiting for you!” while a young soldier burned a copy of the law that he had just been given:
Guaido Announces Two New Protests
Interim president Juan Guaido spoke briefly in a Periscope broadcast this evening to announce two new protest events: one on Wednesday and one on Saturday.
The Wednesday event will take place all throughout the country from noon to 2;00 PM, and will aim to continue to convince soldiers and civil servants to abandon the Maduro regime, and to pressure the military to allow humanitarian aid into the country.
The Saturday event will be held to mark the end of the European Union ultimatum for Maduro, which is set to expire the following day.
Maduro Visits Army Base
Maduro visited the Paramacay army base in Carabobo state this morning to watch a military exercise. The exercise was conducted by the 41st Armoured Brigade, which is stationed in the base.
While these kinds of events are relatively common in Venezuela, today’s visit was undoubtedly carried out at least partially to paint the image that the country’s armed forces are still loyal to Maduro.
Maduro’s media team released a number of videos of the visit throughout the day.
In the video below, a group of soldiers stand at attention as Maduro and a group of officers look on, including Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez:
Maduro headed a column of soldiers on a walk around the base:
Then, Maduro joined the group in a brisk jog:
In the video below, Maduro gives a speech to a group of attentive soldiers:
You can watch a video of Maduro spectating the military exercise here.
After visiting Paramacay, Maduro went to nearby Puerto Cabello, where he took an amphibious vehicle out for a spin:
Bolton Issues Vague Threat
United Sates National Security Adviser John Bolton issued a vague threat to the Maduro regime that it would face “significant response” if any harm came U.S. personnel in the country, Juan Guaido or any National Assembly members.
Below, Bolton’s threat:
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