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Venezuela: government pardons opposition deputies

The government of President Nicolás Maduro announced Monday the pardon of 110 people, including detained opposition legislators, some refugees in foreign embassies in Caracas or in exile whom it had accused of trying to overthrow the president.

The gesture occurred before the legislative elections scheduled for December 6, which the opposition parties that support Juan Guaidó – recognized by the United States and 50 other countries as the legitimate president of Venezuela – decided to boycott, arguing that there are no fair conditions. .

“The intention of the Bolivarian government is to deepen the process of national reconciliation for the national union, so that political issues are settled by peaceful means and by electoral means,” said Jorge Rodríguez, Minister of Communication and Information.

As of its publication in the Official Gazette, the process of procedural benefits contemplated in the presidential pardon granted to deputies Freddy Guevara, José Guerra, Tomás Guanipa and Mariela Magallanes will officially begin, Rodríguez said, without giving other details or making the terms clear. , during a press conference at the government palace.

Guevara is currently taking refuge in the Chilean embassy in Caracas, while Guerra, Magallanes and Guanipa are among the many deputies who are in exile.

The list, which also includes several political aides, excluded more popular opponents such as Leopoldo López, who remains inside the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas or Julio Borges, an opposition legislator who lives in exile in neighboring Colombia.

“If something should establish the history of Venezuela” is that Maduro “is a true champion in the search for dialogue,” said the minister when revealing the names of the beneficiaries.

The activist Gonzalo Himiob, vice president of the local humanitarian organization Foro Penal, indicated that of the list of 110 people that was read publicly by the minister, only “50 are political prisoners” who are currently deprived of liberty.

Maduro, in his more than seven years in office, has already freed other political prisoners, but human rights organizations denounce that it is a revolving door, since while some people are released, others are detained, many of the Who spend months or years behind bars waiting for the charges against them to be dismissed or a final sentence pronounced.

Another 23 people subject to pardon “were already released under precautionary measures,” while the remaining 37 “were subject to investigation, but not restrictions on their freedom,” Himiob highlighted on Twitter.

“Prudence requires not drawing legal or factual conclusions until the decree is available and can be analyzed, and beyond, until it is not known how it will be applied and interpreted,” added the activist.

The announcement was also made three days after the Venezuelan authorities granted the benefit of house arrest to opposition deputy Juan Requesens, who had been detained since 2018 at the headquarters of the political police after being linked to the failed drone attack suffered by President Nicolás Mature in August 2018.

On Sunday, without mentioning Requesens, Maduro commented that he has had to face “in these seven years barbarism, madness; several attempts to kill me … but I do not hold any resentment and believe more and more that the road from Venezuela it has to be dialogue, understanding.

Requesens is at his residence in police custody.