Caracas, April 27th 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Arrested Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, (59) will be transferred to his private residence later this week where he will await trial under house arrest due to health complications.
The Mayor, who was arrested on February 19th and officially charged later in April with conspiring with criminal groups in order to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro, underwent successful surgery at a private clinic in the capital on Sunday morning for a hernia after being granted house detention.
He is reported to have been medically examined on Friday by two doctors who concurred that the Mayor needed urgent surgery, prompting Venezuela’s Public Prosecution to submit a request for clemency and detention under house arrest on Friday afternoon. The petition, described as a “precautionary substitutive measure” by the judicial body, was formally presented by prosecutor Jose Luis Orta before the 6th Court of Caracas. The Mayor was originally being held at the Ramo Verde military prison just outside of Caracas.
Popularly known as the “Vampire” for his role in the bloody suppression of civilians by security forces during his time as Caracas Governor in the 1980s and 1990s, longtime rightwing politician Ledezma was arrested after being linked to the ringleaders of a terrorist plot that was discovered by the government last year.
Led by Lorent Gómez Saleh, Gabriel Valles, Ronny Navarro, Gerardo Carrero and Renzo Prieto, all currently under arrest and facing trial, the plan sought to take advantage of the rightwing street violence known as the “Barricades” that was unleashed last year. The group allegedly planned to bomb a series of government, public and private buildings, as well as murder a string of political activists associated with the country’s Bolivarian Revolution. The plot was aimed at ousting the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro and was reportedly being planned with the help of Colombian paramilitaries.
In secret recordings later released, the ringleader of the plot, Saleh, can be heard to list Ledezma as the group’s chief political ally and claimed that he had provided important support for the group. The mayor is also linked to an attempted coup planned by airforce officials and discovered earlier in February.
Ledezma’s trial is expected to begin later this year when he will have to answer to the charges of sedition and association with criminal groups. The crimes carry a possible prison sentence of up to thirty years.