They request the arrest of the heads of the opposition Assembly in Venezuela

Venezuela’s Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, announced Monday that he has requested the arrest of the new board of directors of the opposition National Assembly elected in 2015.

Saab indicated that arrest warrants have already been issued for Dinorah Figuera, Marianella Fernandez and Auristela Vásquez for the crimes of usurpation of functions, treason and money laundering and illicit association.

The Public Ministry also requested a red alert from Interpol and the seizure of their assets, the blocking and immobilization of accounts, and the prohibition to dispose of and encumber assets.

He also requested the arrest of José Figueredo Márquez, secretary, and Luis Alberto Bustos, undersecretary of the opposition Assembly.

None of them are in Venezuela.

The Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States, Brian Nichols, commented on the arrest warrants on Twitter and assured that his country is on the side of those who defend Venezuelan democracy. He added that attacks on the opposition, including members of the Assembly, prevent democratic solutions. “All efforts must be focused on creating a path for free and fair elections in 2024,” he wrote.

President Nicolás Maduro responded to Nichols’ comments, urging him to meet with the National Assembly elected in 2020, chaired by Jorge Rodríguez. He accused the Biden administration of not having enough “intelligence” and “courage” to assume the failure of the US policy towards Venezuela. “The Trumpist policy against Venezuela failed, it crashed against the democratic functioning of this Republic,” he added.

During her first press conference as president of the opposition Assembly, Figuera declared that the prosecutor’s order strengthens the decision of the board of directors to be in exile. “If they intend to take action against the leadership of the legitimate AN (National Assembly), they will not be able to and we will continue to provide actions with more force,” she said.

The board of directors was appointed on December 30 when the former deputies of the opposition Assembly voted in favor of the elimination of the interim government led until then by Juan Guaidó. They proposed creating, instead, a commission in charge of managing the country’s assets abroad, maintaining the ad hoc boards of the Central Bank of Venezuela and the state oil company PDVSA that controls Citgo, a Houston-based refiner.

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According to calculations offered by Saab, the amount of assets and resources blocked, withheld or confiscated abroad could be in excess of US$30 billion.

The National Assembly elected in 2015 is still functioning, albeit symbolically since according to Venezuelan law its term ended in 2021. However, opponents -many of them in exile- do not recognize the 2020 elections in which the government regained control of the National Assembly, chaired by Jorge Rodríguez.

The office of the spokesman for the United States Department of State issued a statement last Tuesday in which it recognizes the Assembly elected in 2015 as the only legitimate institution and supports its decision to eliminate the interim government and create a commission. The United States does not recognize Nicolás Maduro as a legitimate resident of Venezuela.

The Venezuelan prosecutor referred on Monday to the interim government as the worst organized crime mega-gang and emphasized that the opposition has taken advantage of the political situation, such as the presidency of Donald Trump, to create an unreal government and attack the Venezuelan state. .

Saab recalled that on January 23, 2019, former deputy Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela in a public act. Subsequently, Guaidó was recognized as the legitimate president of Venezuela by almost 60 countries, relying heavily on the United States government, which guaranteed him access to Venezuelan assets such as Citgo and Monómeros, recently recovered by the Venezuelan government.

Minutes later, the president of the National Assembly elected in 2020, Jorge Rodríguez, who was re-elected on January 5, gave a press conference in which he referred to the opposition National Assembly -of 2015- as a “gang of thieves”. and welcomed the arrest requests issued by the Public Ministry.

Rodríguez emphasized the amounts managed by the extinct interim government and stressed that the Assembly elected in 2015 is sustained by “the arrogance” of the US government.

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