San Francisco, June 17th 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- Yesterday, the far right opposition leader and former legislator Maria Corina Machado arrived at the Attorney General’s Office in Caracas to act as a witness in a high-profile investigation regarding an alleged plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro, the details of which were released in May.
Upon her arrival at the government building, Machado said she was immediately informed by the prosecutor that she would be acting as a witness and was not under investigation. In accordance with this status, lead prosecutor Katherine Harrington refused all documentation and evidence the ex-legislator had prepared for her “case.”
This reportedly came as a surprise to her lawyer, considering emails sent from Machado’s personal account and seized by Venezuelan intelligence served as key proof of the existence of such a conspiracy.
Warrants have gone out for the arrest of three men accused of crimes against the homeland, after their seized correspondences were deemed incriminating. All of the men currently reside in the United States and refused to meet their respective court dates last week.
Machado maintains that the emails were fabricated, though the account from which they were sent is her own. She expressed her firm belief yesterday that she has been singled out and “pursued” for her political ideology, and the Attorney General’s treatment of her as a witness was only an attempt to prevent her lawyer from defending her during the inquiry.
“They can’t detain me,” Machado told reporters before entering the attorney’s office Monday morning, “if they did, it would be the final evidence that this is a dying dictatorship.”
The ex-legislator has been at the forefront of an anti-government movement that, since February, has promoted street action and protest as a strategy to force Maduro’s ouster. The demonstrations, ranging from peaceful to extremely violent, have resulted in 42 dead, 900 wounded, tens of millions of dollars in property damage, including the burning of public universities and transport services, and 162 reported attacks on Cuban doctors.
“When Maduro leaves office, the constitution states that we will hold elections,” explained Machado yesterday. “We have to overcome any threats, any anguish,” she said, in order to reach that ultimate goal. She repeated the call for her supporters to continue organizing a “Great National Movement” calling for Maduro’s resignation.
Thirty-four members of the Peruvian Congress, as well as Costa Rican ex-president Oscar Arias showed their express support for Machado this week, publicly condemning her supposed trial as “anti-democratic activity.”
Last Wednesday, a state-funded US organization headed by Colombian ex-president Andres Pastrana awarded Machado a prize for “relentless efforts to defend freedom and democracy against all odds in her native Venezuela.”
At the G77+China Summit held over the weekend in Bolivia, the presidents of Ecuador, Cuba, and Bolivia made speeches in support of the Maduro administration and urged South American nations to stand by Venezuela, as they consider it to be “under siege” by those who wish to “re-colonize” the country and restore it to a more conservative state.
A student opposition leader, Gaby Arellano, was also asked to serve as a witness for the trial this morning, at the office of government intelligence service SEBIN. Before entering she told reporters, “If I don’t come out of SEBIN, the truth that guides me will permit me to maintain the physical and mental struggle for a free Venezuela.”
Arellano was recorded on video while meeting with a US embassy official on April 2nd, shortly after the start of the protests.
She was released after three hours of questioning.