US Police May Arrest Protectors of Venezuela's Embassy in Washington

Cheryl Sanders
May 16, 2019

The pro-Maduro activists have refused an order to leave, issued after Juan Guaidó, the self-declared interim president of Venezuela recognised by more than 50 countries, appointed a new United States ambassador, Carlos Vecchio, who is due to take over the embassy.

Lawmaker Luis Stefanelli said parliament did not fear "this type of threat" and would meet elsewhere.

The United States is among more than 50 countries backing opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president on January 23 but has since failed to force Maduro to step down.

His rule has been marked by a massive economic and political crisis, with about 3.4 million Venezuelans fleeing hyperinflation, goods shortages and political unrest overseas.

Guaido is locked in a bitter power struggle with Maduro, who has presided over a spiraling political and economic crisis in Venezuela since taking over from late leftist leader Hugo Chavez in 2013.

The Supreme Court has indicted lawmakers Carlos Paparoni, Miguel Pizarro, Franco Casella and Winston Flores of treason and encouraging rebellion. The legislators are suspected of involvement in an alleged coup attempt by Guaido on April 30. The Trump administration strongly condemned this month's detention of Edgar Zambrano, the vice president of the legislature.

One opposition lawmaker was arrested and several took refuge in foreign embassies in Caracas or fled the country last week after similar accusations from the court.

USA authorities may return to Venezuela's embassy in Washington in the coming hours to arrest the remaining members of the Embassy Protection Collective who are guarding the facility and residing there as guests of the Venezuelan government, activists said in a statement.

Moreno stopped communicating and never issued his decree, even as Guaido went to the La Carlota airbase in Caracas to say Maduro had lost military support. At least 33 were shot dead by the security forces, and six by government supporters.

More than 900 people, including children, were arbitrarily detained over the same period, it said.

The events during those five days reflect a policy of repression documented by Amnesty since 2014, the rights group said.

Amnesty urged the UN Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry and called for "the activation of universal jurisdiction by countries genuinely concerned about the situation in the country".

Other reports by iNewsToday