Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro accused of crimes against humanity

Luisa Ortega, Venezuela’s ousted chief prosecutor has called on the International Criminal Court to capture President Nicolas Maduro and charge him over what she claims are crimes against humanity.

According to Luisa Ortega, who was fired from the Maduro government earlier this year, 8290 deaths took place between 2015 and 2017. She filed a complaint at The Hague.

“[They happened] under the orders of the executive branch, as part of a social cleansing plan carried out by the government,” she told reporters. “Nicolas Maduro and his government should pay for these crimes against humanity just as they must also pay for the hunger, misery, and hardship they’ve inflicted on the Venezuelan people.”

She added: “We have been forced to turn to an international organization because there is no justice in Venezuela.”

Venezuela arrests Citgo chief in anti-corruption dragnet

Venezuelan authorities detained the acting president of Citgo, the state-owned oil company’s U.S. subsidiary, and five other executives for their alleged involvement in a corruption scheme, officials said Tuesday.

The complaint filed by Luisa Ortega includes evidence against top officials like the Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino and intelligence chief Gustavo Gonzalez for being involved in the alleged abuses, which included 1,000 pieces of evidence.

Ms. Ortega was associated with Mr. Maduro, and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, for many years. Yet she broke with him this summer after Mr. Maduro pressed ahead with a plan to create powerful legislature called the Constituent Assembly.

The new constitutional assembly can override the traditional National Assembly, which the opposition has controlled since elections in 2015. The opposition decided to boycott the vote over the assembly, ensuring that it would be filled with allies of Mr. Maduro.

Indeed, the new, 545-member assembly voted to fire Ms. Ortega on its first day of operation, accusing her of being a “traitor”. Since then, she has fled the country and has toured different countries denouncing the government she once worked with.

Mr. Maduro has faced widespread international criticism and both the US and the EU have mposed fresh sanctions on the country. In turn, he has accused the US of trying to overthrow his government and his supporters have pointed out that some US officials backed a 2002 coup that briefly dislodged Mr. Chavex.

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