Venezuela: María Corina Machado Faces Charges of Treason
EspañolThrough an “emergency motion,” the Venezuelan National Assembly has passed the impeachment of opposition leader María Corina Machado, in an effort to remove the lawmaker’s parliamentary immunity.
The initiative, presented by Socialist Party (PSUV) member Tania Díaz, achieved approval with a majority of the legislature’s votes. Then, once voting had concluded, the assembly called a close to the session and proceeded to the Attorney General’s Office to present impeachment documents.
“This time, those deaths will be avenged. They will pay for those deaths; they will pay according to the constitution and our laws,” proclaimed Díaz, referring to the nearly 30 deaths in Venezuela in the last month amid protests throughout the country.
The PSUV representative accused Machado of “treason” for having resorted to “seeking foreign government support and advice to sabotage Venezuelan democracy,” referring to Machado’s actions in turning to the OAS.
Díaz received support from the Speaker of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello, who stated he would also request an investigation into Machado on charges of terrorism, murder, and incitement of violence and crime. Cabello said “this congresswoman will have to face the Venezuelan justice system for her crimes, destruction, disasters, and the incitement of crime from her calls for destabilization.”
The accusations against Machado were within the framework of the “Truth Commission” within the National Assembly, chaired by the speaker of the assembly himself, Cabello. The commission intends to investigate the violent acts that occurred during anti-government protests beginning on February 12.
“We will investigate and arrive at consequences. There will be no impunity in Venezuela, and this is the message that we send to the people, to be calm and remain confident in Maduro’s leadership,” said Cabello.
In response to the accusations, the representative for the opposition said, “They wanted to eliminate us, but they have made us invincible. There are millions in the street and we will continue fighting to achieve democracy.”
Machado described the action by officials as an act of a dictatorial government, and said “It has become clear that Maduro’s goal is to silence the voice of the people. The government has removed its mask and we can call him what he is: a dictator.”
The congresswoman assures that the actions taken by the government against her were done because they are “afraid,” and urged her supporters to keep protesting.
“It’s very clear to me where these orders to attack me are coming from. This order is coming from Havana, Cuba,” she said.
Similarly, she also called on the governments of Latin America to assume their role “with fortitude and courage” and to be “loyal to the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”
In response to Machado’s participation at the international organization, Cabello commented, “she can go to the OAS, to that heavenly court, but in Venezuela she will be judged as a murderer and a terrorist. She will be tried for crimes against humanity, conspiracy, and destabilization.”
Justice or Political Persecution?
Amid the wave of protests and democratic crisis that has struck the country, Mariatrina Burgos, attorney and founder of Justice for Democracy, considers the call for the impeachment of Maria Corina Machado as “unfortunate for democracy in Venezuela.” The current situation in Venezuela and its restrictions on individual rights lead Burgos to believe that, “We are in a dictatorship and moving closer to a tyranny.”
Speaker of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, assures that he will order the investigation of the violent acts that occurred during the protests, and calls for peace and confidence in Maduro’s leadership. However, Burgos believes that this pursuit of justice by the government is only intended to punish the opposition. After the arrest of Leopoldo López, the arrest of Congresswoman Machado would be the second for the opposition leadership since demonstrations began in early February.
Burgos agrues that the accusations levied at Machago have a clear political motive, and appear to be acts of desperation from the current regime.
“Machado has demonstrated courage against the brutal onslaught of Diosdado and his acolytes, which is simply an external sign of the desperation of a regime that is lost. It is a consequence of the vertigo that eats away at their souls as they realize for the first time, after these 15 long years, the limits of their fraudulent permanency. They are aware of the cliff that they will soon fall off,” says Burgos.
The attorney perceives these actions as the beginning of a “witch hunt” to try to intimidate the opposition and put an end to the protests in the country. Burgos, who leads an international foundation, believes that, “Now more than ever, the work being done by those who decided to stay in Venezuela to fight needs external allies to become multipliers of information.”