Maduro’s Constituent Assembly–a legislative body made up entirely of regime loyalists–voted today to strip the parliamentary immunity of six opposition legislators over their alleged involvement in the events of April 30.
The Constituent Assembly’s president, ruling party vice president Diosdado Cabello, said during today’s proceedings that there was no need to impeach the six deputies since they were allegedly caught in act of participating in what he called the “attempted coup” of last week.
News of the Constituent Assembly’s decision follows a ruling from the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Supreme Tribunal of Justice, TSJ), which ruled earlier in the day in favour of holding a trial for the six deputies.
The deputies targeted by the TSJ and the Constituent Assembly are: Henry Ramos Allup, Luis Florido, Richard Blanco, Mariela Magallanes, Nora Delgado, Simon Calzadilla, and Americo de Grazia. The deputies were singled out because they went to the area around La Carlota last April 30, after Juan Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez issued a statement from the area calling on all Venezuelans to take to the streets to help overthrow the Maduro government.
Washington Lifts Sanctions on Former SEBIN Chief Now Critical of Maduro
The White House announced today that it was lifting sanctions against the former head of the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (National Bolivarian Intelligence Service, SEBIN), Christopher Figuera, after he left his position last week.
Figuera released an open letter upon leaving the post in which he expressed his loyalty to Maduro, and claimed that the president was being manipulated by a group of corrupt officials. Part of Figuera’s letter reads:
My Commander in Chief [Maduro], I continue to recognize you, and I can look at you and the army high command in the yes, but some of them are incapable of holding my gaze.
News of the lifted sanctions came from United States Vice President Mike PEnce, who said that the goal of the move was to encourage other high-ranking regime officials from voicing their discontent with the Maduro regime. Pence said:
We hope the action that our nation is taking today will encourage others to follow the example of General Cristopher Figuera and members of the military who have also stepped forward.
Figuera had been in charge of the country’s political police since August of last year. It is not under the command of Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez, who also ran the organization between 2014 and 2018.
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