Venezuelan Government Arrests Opposition Leaders Allegedly Involved in Criminal Activity

What Happened: 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and members of his circle have been the target of plots that could have left them injured or dead, according to government officials who answered questions on the arrests of more than 30 people, including human rights attorneys and staffers for the opposing presidential candidate.

International aid groups and the U.N. have claimed that these actions are solely to stifle opposition in the upcoming election set for July 28 of this year. Maduro has been in power since 2013 and will seek another six year term.

The arrests occurred on Wednesday, right before the country’s top prosecutor announced arrest warrants for staffers working on the opposition’s campaign, claiming they were involved in an unnamed plot to harm the president.

The Details:

Venezuelas government have announced that the various plots undermine Maduro and his officials in order to destabilize the country. Oscar Murillo, general coordinator for the Venezuelan human rights group Provea, has stated that “this has translated into greater political repression and a deepening of the policy of persecution that seeks to break civil society at a time when perhaps the ideal thing would be to be talking about the public policies needed to reverse poverty or inequality in Venezuela.”

Attorney General Tarek William Saab has stated that the plots that the arrested individuals are implicated in vary from military sabotage, assassinating Maduro, and destabilizing the country. He has already presented confessions and documents associated with the planning of said sabotage, along with laptops, phones, and other devices he has claimed as evidence.

Machado has lost multiple staff members to the allegations, including her campaign manager. Machado herself has been barred from running for 15 years due to a Venezuelan law that prevents officials involved in corruption schemes from taking office. She has defended her staff, stating that all the allegations against them are false.

Many have urged Machado to step down, but she said in a statement, “If the regime believes that with these actions they are going to isolate me, let me be clear: My team is Venezuela.” She added that her campaign will continue organizing and fully expects international support. She is hoping pressure from the international community will result in the ban being lifted.

In a statement from Attorney General Saab, he asked, “Should the state lower its guard and let these operations go forward, to bathe the country in blood?” The attorney general’s office has been accused of using false events to repress opponents of the current leadership. “The mission confirms that, as has happened in the past, the authorities invoke real or fictitious conspiracies to intimidate, detain, and prosecute people who oppose or criticize the government,” panel head Marta Valiñas told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

What’s Next:

When Maduro won the election in 2018, it was widely criticized as fraudulent. After he won, he immediately arrested opposition leaders in what the government explained as an assassination attempt against him. Since then, there have been multiple crackdowns from Maduro’s government.

In an October agreement, the U.S. government agreed to lift some of the sanctions on Venezuela if they focused on creating conditions for a free and fair election. However, the U.S. has already put some of the sanctions back into place after the arrests and Maduro’s alleged “non-compliance.”

The Biden Administration has announced Maduro has until April to comply, or all the remaining relief will be reversed, which would severely damage the Venezuelan economy. Brian Nichols, a U.S. assistant secretary of state, told a Washington based think tank that the “incentives” have not been sufficient enough to motivate Maduro.

Maduro has continued to claim the U.S. is attempting to assassinate and overthrow him throughout.


Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger holds a Political Science and History BS and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration. Before his time at Atlas he joined GoodPolitical to serve as a writer and contributor while also expanding his knowledge on global events. Matthew is proud to be a part of a news organization that believes in delivering truthful, unfiltered, and unbiased news to people around the world.


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