Caracas.- The Nicolas Maduro regime has used the courts, including the Supreme one, law enforcement, state-owned and social media to harass, disqualify, bar from running for up to 15 years, and, in general, intimidate elected officials, humanitarian workers, and journalists since 2015.
Some 40 politicians have been politically banned by the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and the Comptroller Office. Other elected officials have been forced into exile or imprisoned.
Some of the most salient cases of opposition politicians disqualified by the Venezuelan State from 2015 until 2021 are those of:
- María Corina Machado
In March 2014, while she was a deputy of the National Assembly, her parliamentary immunity was raided. The regime accused her of violating Article 149 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela by accepting honors from a foreign government without the Parliament’s authorization. She was barred from leaving the country and banned from running for elected office.
- Antonio Ledezma:
While Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma was arrested and accused of leading and promoting a failed coup d’état called “Jericho.” A court issued a 16-year sentence against Ledezma.
He was held in Ramo Verde prison and then was placed under house arrest due to deteriorating health. From his home, he fled to Colombia and now lives in Spain, where he has maintained an intense activity against Maduro’s government.
- Leopoldo Lopez:
He was arrested and charged with arson, public incitement, and instigation to commit a crime. On September 10, 2015, a court gave him 13 years sentence, nine months, seven days, and 12 hours of imprisonment.
He was held in the Ramo Verde military prison for more than three years, until in August 2017, he was remanded to house arrest after three months of the most violent street protests Venezuela has seen in the modern age. Lopez currently resides in Spain.
- Pablo Perez:
The former governor of Zulia was banned for ten years, in a sentence by the Comptroller General of the Republic on July 17, 2015.
- Henrique Capriles:
In April 2013, the Comptroller General imposed on Capriles a ban to run for public office for 15 years. A sanction triggered for the alleged mismanagement of donations and other administrative irregularities, which Capriles always denied.
- Ramon Muchacho:
After being sentenced to 15 months in prison by the highest judicial court in Venezuela, the former mayor of Chacao fled to Miami in August 2017. The Supreme Court of Justice said the politician failed to contain massive opposition protests in Chacao and disqualified him for elected office for 15 years.
- Freddy Guevara:
He was accused by Nicolas Maduro of allegedly incurring in the employment of minors to commit crimes and for criminal association and continued public instigation during the 2017 anti-government demonstrations. The Maduro-controlled National Constituent Assembly authorized his prosecution on November 6, 2017.
Freddy Guevara sought asylum in the Chilean embassy in Caracas, alleging fear of imprisonment. He was disqualified for 15 years. The Constituent disbanded in late 2020 after failing to write even the first article of a new Constitution.
- David Smolansky:
He is a Venezuelan politician, journalist, and former Mayor of El Hatillo municipality in Caracas. He was banned for 15 years. Threatened with prison, he has been in exile since September 2017.
Currently, David Smolansky is the Commissioner of the Organization of American States for Venezuelan migrants.
- Luisa Ortega Diaz:
On August 5, 2017, the TSJ and the National Constituent Assembly said it had found merit in prosecuting Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz and the regime frozen Her assets and accounts. But the former Attorney General of Chavez managed to evade capture on live television when she hopped on a motorcycle. She now lives in Colombia and from the neighboring country has denounced Maduro.
- Julio Borges:
The Supreme Court lifted his parliamentary immunity on August 8, 2018. The court also requested his arrest, but he was already in exile in Bogota.
Borges is currently a special representative of Venezuela before the Lima Group.
- Manuel Rosales:
The politician fled to Peru in 2009 after the Attorney General Office initiated a process against him. He spent six years in exile, and in October 2015, when he returned to Venezuela, he was arrested. He spent two months in prison. Still living in Venezuela, he also has a precautionary measure prohibiting him from leaving the country.
- Juan Requesens:
Requesens was jumped, literally, in the vestibule of his apartment building by police on August 7, 2018. No arrest warrant, no pretrial to lift his parliamentary immunity.
Days before his arrest, he had pronounced a defiant speech in the National Assembly. After his arrest, videos of him in custody, apparently soiled in human feces, began appearing.
He was taken to the Sebin El Helicoide headquarters, accused of participating in the attack with drones loaded with explosives against Maduro, at an event held on August 4, 2018. Requesens is currently under house arrest.
- Juan Guaido:
On March 28, 2019, Venezuelan Government Comptroller Elvis Amoroso announced that the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, had been disqualified for 15 years for the holding of elected office, clearly the Maduro weapon of choice against political rivals of some note.
Guaido “hid or falsified” information in his sworn statement of assets, and in turn, received money from international and national instances without justifying it before the regime, Amoroso said.
The Venezuelan Comptroller General Office disqualified Guaido for the second time and the same number of years, together with 27 lawmakers of the Parliament he heads, this Tuesday, February 23.
Amoroso did not provide the names of the other 27 banned lawmakers. “We know that these characters are involved in acts of corruption. They have seized the money of all Venezuelans,” the official added without offering details.