US senators condemn arrest of Súmate president

WASHINGTON.- A group of 11 senators bipartisan Americans issued a joint statement condemning the arrest of opponent and president of the Súmate civil association, Roberto Abdul, as well as the arrest warrants of the Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Office against several opposition political leaders and members of the opposition’s team. María Corina Machado.

“This brazen act is a clear violation of the spirit of the Barbados Agreement and another indication that the regime of Nicolas Maduro is not fulfilling its commitment to hold free and fair elections in 2024,” they said in the statement.

The senators stated that they were “extremely concerned” because the actions of the Maduro regime indicate that “it is moving towards an even more brutal dictatorship,” reported El Nacional.

The senators believe that the United States “must respond accordingly using all diplomatic tools, including the imposition of selected sanctions.”

The statement was signed by legislators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee). Likewise, Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), and Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.).

The Attorney General’s Office of Venezuela announced on Wednesday that it ordered the arrest of a dozen opponents, under accusations of treason, for their alleged participation in a plot to conspire against the referendum on Essequibo, the territory in dispute with Guyana.

The arrest warrant, according to the regime’s attorney general Tarek William Saab, was issued against opposition leaders Juan Guaidó, Yon Goicochea, Julio Borges, Lester Toledo, David Smolanski, Carlos Vecchio, Leopoldo López, as well as against the former ministers of Petroleum and Communication, Rafael Ramírez and Andrés Izarra, two dissident Chavistas. All of them are in exile.

Saab indicated that the judicial measure was agreed for the crimes of treason, conspiracy, association to commit a crime and money laundering against those instigated for allegedly being participants in a plot of “financing and conspiracy” to frustrate Venezuela’s fight for the Essequibo.

In addition to the capture of the opposition political leaders, arrest warrants were issued against three collaborators of the opposition leader María Corina Machado, among them Abdul. Machado was the winner of the opposition primaries last October, thus being elected as the “unitary” candidate of the opposition to face Chavismo in the presidential elections scheduled for 2024. Machado won the internal opposition consultation with 92% of the votes.

“Hidden” presentation

The NGO Foro Penal reported that the president of Súmate was introduced “in secret” at the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) this Friday, December 8.

The president of Foro Penal, Alfredo Romero, described this action as an “unusual” violation of human rights in Venezuela.

“Unusual human rights violation: A few minutes ago, public defender 110 called Roberto Abdul’s wife to report that the 4th Terrorism Court secretly held the presentation hearing inside El Helicoide, without informing or allowing access to private lawyers “wrote the activist on his social network account X.

In addition to Abdul, the Maduro regime also detained an American, identified as Savoi Jadon Wright, whom the regime accuses of having used cryptocurrencies and cash to “avoid financial controls and mask the origin and destination of the funds used.” in the alleged conspiracy against the referendum. Wright was arrested on October 24 during a visit to Venezuela.

The announcement of the Prosecutor’s actions comes two days after Maduro, in his weekly radio and television program, denounced the alleged financing of the American oil company ExxonMobil to Venezuelan politicians, without showing evidence.

Machado told reporters that electoral participation in the referendum showed a very clear sign of “repudiation of the regime” and rejected legal actions against three of the members of his Vente Venezuela party.

“They are making a mistake, what they are doing today against members of Vente and other people is a big mistake,” he said. “They are not going to stop us, on the contrary, this will give us more strength and until the end,” he stressed.

FOUNTAIN: EDITORIAL / With information from El Nacional