Mérida, December 12, 2007,
(venezuelanalysis.com) Venezuela's Attorney General's office ordered the arrest of the
opposition leader and Ex-Governor of the state of Miranda, Enrique
Mendoza last week for his involvement in events during the 2002 coup
attempt against President Hugo Chavez. Opposition parties rallied to
his defense and labeled Mendoza a "political prisoner," but authorities
have yet to find and capture him.
Police arrived to the house of the ex-governor over the
weekend after a Caracas court ordered that he be detained, but Mendoza
was nowhere to be found. As authorities searched the home, Mendoza's
mother assured that her son had done nothing more than "serve and
struggle for his country."
Mendoza is accused of several crimes, among them civil
rebellion, violence against public organs of the state, and vandalism
of public property. The ex-governor was involved in taking over the
state television channel (VTV) on the night of April 10th, 2002 and
forcing it to go off the air, during which time President Chavez was
taken into military custody and a temporary government was put into
Leaders of the opposition rallied behind Mendoza, expressing
their solidarity with him, and accusing the Chavez government of
arbitrarily pursuing the case in reaction to their electoral loss in
the national referendum on December 2nd.
"We've had enough with the political prisoners, enough
persecution, and enough using judicial terrorism to silence
dissidence," said Luis Ignacio Planas, Secretary General of the Christian Democratic party COPEI.
government supporters celebrated the decision to pursue the case
claiming that the government has been far too lenient on its political
opponents who break the law.
"If there is one thing that characterizes this revolutionary
process it has been too much generosity with its enemies and
detractors," said Orlando Castillo, member of the United Socialist
Party of Venezuela (PSUV). "It is time to stop the injustice. This is a
demand from the people, and from the progressive sectors."
Mendoza's whereabouts remain unclear, but last week he assured
the press that he had no intention of leaving the country, and would
not go into hiding. His attorneys assured on Monday that he would turn
himself in as soon as it is clear where and under what conditions he
will be held.