Opposition Persecution Continues in Venezuela
In With the Constituent Assembly and Out With the Parliament?
The most notable event, the main catalyst of the unrest in Venezuela, is the election of the Constituent Assembly. The election, which took place in late January, set off a firestorm of protests against what many Venezuelans see as a step closer to dictatorial government. The vote put 554 Venezuelans from social groups and labor organizations loyal to Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro. The assembly is tasked with replacing the constitution implemented under the administration of Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, with a new one. The Parliament, which is controlled by the opposition, boycotted the election that essentially stripped them of their powers and put them into the hands of loyalists of Maduro’s Bolivarian Government. Violent clashes have arisen from protests related to the election of the Constituent Assembly which have seen at least 120 protesters killed, and opposition government officials jailed for treason.
In With Tarek William Saab and Out With Louisa Ortega?
The job of the Attorney General of any nation is to first and foremost uphold the constitution of that nation. However, when a nation devolves into political chaos, doing such a thing could cost an attorney general her job. Such was the case for former the former AG of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega. She was loyal to the government until March 2017 when she criticized a Supreme Court ruling that stripped the Parliament of it’s powers, calling the move illegal. A month later, she bucked against her loyalty to the government again when she publicly stated that a protester who was reportedly killed by friendly fire from a fellow protester was actually killed by a teargas canister fired by the National Guard.
Maduro’s government has show little to no tolerance for dissenters, and he held true to form by sacking Luisa Ortega in favor of a loyalist, Tarek William Saab. Luisa Ortega called her own sacking illegal and maintains that she is still the chief prosecutor in Venezuela.
Photo credit: www.crisisgroup.org