CARACAS – Venezuelan opposition leader Freddy Guevara took refuge at the Chilean embassy in Venezuela late Saturday after accusing the Nicolas Maduro-led government of trying to strip him of his parliamentary immunity and prosecute him.
The Chilean embassy said that in keeping with its humanitarian tradition and foreign policy and “decisions taken in similar situations, the government of Chile has granted him (Guevara) the status of a guest.”
“The Government of Chile reports that a few hours ago the first vice president of the National Assembly (AN) of Venezuela, deputy Freddy Guevara, entered the residence of the ambassador of Chile in Venezuela who, in view of what he considers imminent threats to his security and personal integrity, has requested the protection of Chile,” said a statement from the Chilean Foreign Ministry.
On Friday, the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) had declared that Guevara should be tried in a criminal court for “continued public incitement and use of adolescents to commit a crime.”
Following the ruling, the opposition, which controls Venezuela’s parliament, came out on Saturday in support of the first vice-president and accused the government of “political persecution.”
Meanwhile, the Lima Group, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, too, denounced the Venezuelan Supreme Court’s ruling against Guevara, who has also been prohibited from leaving the country.
In a statement on Saturday, the group – which does not support the constituent assembly and backs the Venezuelan national assembly – said the court’s position “constitutes a new attack against the rule of law and the separation of powers in Venezuela.”