CARACAS – Former Venezuelan presidential candidate Manuel Rosales, released from prison less than a week ago after spending more than a year behind bars, announced Wednesday that as a condition of his release he must present himself in court every two weeks although his political rights remain “intact.”
In addition to the presentation regimen ordered by the court, he is also prohibited from leaving the country, but he may exercise all his rights, the opposition former governor told reporters at the doors of the Palace of Justice in Caracas, where he went on Wednesday morning.
Rosales emphasized that he will “fully” exercise his rights although he did not say if he has electoral aspirations or any plans in the political realm at present.
He also responded to criticism from other opposition figures who had suggested that he could have made agreements with the Nicolas Maduro government in exchange for his release.
“As a democrat, I will prefer to receive criticism loaded, at times, with cynicism, at times ridiculous, rather than the praises of the extremists,” he said.
The founder of the opposition Un Nuevo Tiempo (A New Time) party said that although he had made “mistakes,” he would “never” negotiate regarding his “values and principles.”
He said that he will continue “fighting against this obsolete and failed political and economic model that has led Venezuela to a critical situation,” referring to the Chavista government.
Venezuelan authorities on Dec. 31 released Rosales, who had been imprisoned for alleged illicit enrichment while he was governor of the western state of Zulia.
Rosales, 64, arrived in Venezuela on Oct. 15, 2015, after spending six years in exile because of a 2009 arrest order issued against him on corruption charges by the Attorney General’s Office, and he was arrested as soon as he disembarked from the plane that brought him home.
Also released at the same time were five other people identified as opponents of the Chavista government, whose liberation – in some cases – had been expected after negotiations with the Vatican and the Spanish Embassy, said the head of the non-governmental organization Foro Penal, Alfredo Romero.