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Home World News Washington Post World News Venezuela orders the arrest of lawmakers in exile fighting against Maduro

Venezuela orders the arrest of lawmakers in exile fighting against Maduro

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CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s socialist government has ordered the arrest of three exiled former lawmakers who spearheaded renewed efforts to impeach President Nicolas Maduro.

Dinorah Figuera leads an all-female team selected last week by fellow opposition politicians to head the National Assembly elected in 2015. The opposition-controlled assembly is widely regarded as the South American country’s last democratically elected institution, and even though its five-year mandate expired at the end of 2020, it continues to function as a symbolic shadow for Maduro’s stamping National Assembly.

On Monday, Maduro’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced that prosecutors had ordered the arrest of Figuera and her two deputies on charges of treason, money laundering and impersonating public officials.

However, the arrest warrant will probably not be executed. All three women, like many of Maduro’s opponents, have fled Venezuela in recent years for fear of retaliation. Figuera, a surgeon by training, lives in Spain.

In January 2019, the National Assembly voted to stop recognizing Maduro as president after several prominent opponents were barred from running against him. It then appointed Juan Guaidó as the country’s “interim president”, in accordance with the order of succession established by Venezuela’s constitution. More than 60 countries quickly recognized him as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

Figuera was previously an unknown legislator who was elected alongside Guaidó. She stepped forward in opposition efforts to depose Maduro as part of an internal coup against beleaguered Guaidó, whose failure to shake Maduro’s grip on power has frustrated many Venezuelans.

Maduro ally Jorge Rodriguez, the head of the pro-government National Assembly, celebrated the announcement of the arrest warrants and called the 2015 National Assembly a “gang of thieves” for trying to gain control of Venezuela’s extensive overseas oil resources, including Houston- based refinery Citgo.



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