Venezuelan Opposition Rejects Truth Commission Despite Presence of UNASUR, Ex-Presidents

Venezuela’s right-wing opposition coalition announced Tuesday it will not participate in the new Truth Commission established by the national government to investigate 2014’s violent anti-government protests known as the guarimbas.

By Lucas Koerner

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National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup. (Archive)
National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup. (Archive)
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Caracas, April 15, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s right-wing opposition coalition, the Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD), announced Tuesday it will not participate in the new Truth Commission established by the national government to investigate 2014’s violent anti-government protests known as the guarimbas.

The commission is a response on the part of the administration of President Nicolas Maduro to an amnesty law passed by the country’s right wing-controlled parliament, which was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (TSJ) Monday on the grounds that it would sanction impunity by freeing those convicted of violent crimes provided that they were committed “with a political end”.

Denouncing the TSJ ruling as politicized judicial activism, the MUD broadcast its refusal to participate in the Truth Commission, questioning its impartiality despite the presence of UNASUR Secretary General Ernesto Samper as well as ex-presidents from Panama, Spain, and the Dominican Republic. 

“We’re not going to fall for their booby trap of offering to release a few political prisoners who have every right to be free in the context of some truth commission handpicked by the government and announced on television,” said National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup.

In particular, the Democratic Action leader took aim at Samper, who he accused of “partiality” towards the government in refusing to take a stance on the Amnesty Law and the TSJ decision. 

Samper, for his part, dismissed the criticisms, citing UNASUR’s commitment to non-interference in the internal affairs of its member states. 

The former Colombian president praised the commission as “one of peace, not of war” that will “offer Venezuelans the possibility to find a path of sincere dialogue.” 

In addition to the UNASUR chief, the commission will include Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Martin Torrijos, and Leonal Fernandez, the former presidents of Spain, Panama, and Dominican Republic, respectively.

The commission was officially opened on Tuesday. According to Vice-President Aristobolo Isturiz, it will be tasked with “visibilizing and hearing [the testimony of] people affected by the violent acts that occurred in the country [in 2014],” in which 43 people were killed and over 800 injured. 

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