CARACAS – Hundreds of people came to the Public Ministry headquarters in Caracas on Monday to express their support for Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz, after she began a series of actions against the National Constitutional Assembly convened by President Nicolas Maduro to rewrite the Venezuelan Constitution.
The majority of the demonstrators were workers in the Attorney General’s Office and carried signs and shouted slogans supporting Ortega Diaz, although government supporters have called for her to be removed from office.
“The majority of those of us who are here are Chavistas, but we are defending the Constitution against the Maduro government, who says it’s Chavista and which is violating the Constitution,” political analyst Nicmer Evans told reporters from the Public Ministry.
The former member of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela, who distanced himself from the government after Maduro won the presidency, said that the attorney general “broke the siege of fear and is devoted to the possibility of defending the Constitution.”
The demonstration by government opponents and groups of Chavistas critical of Maduro coincided with another group of government supporters who also came to the site to protest against Ortega Diaz and call for her resignation.
The meeting of the two groups led to verbal confrontations, with Maduro opponents saying that their rivals were defending a “dictatorship” and the government supporters saying that Ortega Diaz’s days in office “are numbered.”
The differences between the government and the attorney general erupted after Ortega Diaz in late March called the Supreme Court decision to take over the functions of the opposition-controlled Parliament a “rupture of the constitutional order,” although the high court partially reversed itself shortly thereafter.
Later, Ortega Diaz called for the high court magistrates who supported the original decision to be placed on trial and the positions of 33 other judges to be challenged due to alleged irregularities in their election.
The moves have led Chavistas to call for a medical board to evaluate Ortega Diaz’s conduct and for authorities to prevent her from leaving the country and to freeze her assets.
All these actions are part of a government request that the Supreme Court launch efforts to remove the AG and to determine if there is sufficient cause to bring her to trial.