[News] 3 Venezuelan Air Force Generals Arrested for Alleged Coup Plot - Machado Dismissed

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Mar 26 11:30:33 EDT 2014

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  Three Venezuelan Air Force Generals Arrested for Alleged Coup Plotting


By Correo del Orinoco / Venezuelanalysis.com

25^th March 2014 - Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced today 
that three generals of the Venezuelan Air Force have been arrested, 
after they were denounced by lower-ranking officials for their 
involvement in alleged coup plans.

"Last night we captured three Air Force generals that we had been 
investigating thanks to the powerful moral force of our National 
Bolivarian Armed Forces: three generals that aimed to rise the Air Force 
against the legitimately constituted government," he said during a live 
broadcast on state TV.

Maduro argued that those arrested "have direct links with the 
opposition, and said that this week was decisive". According to the 
president, the alleged coup plot involves creating "psychological" chaos 
through attacking electricity and other services, and then striking 
against the government. The three generals are now under custody and 
will face an investigation.

The announcement was made on the same day that foreign ministers of the 
Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) arrive in the country to 
support dialogue efforts between the government and opposition.

Venezuela has been subject to a wave of opposition protests, riots and 
roadblocks since early February. The violence has left 35 dead, 
including National Guard officers, opposition activists and government 
supporters. Several hard-line opposition leaders openly call for the 
government's resignation.

In his speech Maduro asked the country and UNASUR to support the Truth 
Commission established by the National Assembly last week to investigate 
the recent acts of violence. Opposition parliamentarians have not yet 
decided if they will participate in the commission, which would have 
five pro-government and four opposition legislators as members.

It remains to be seen whether the presence of UNASUR ministers will 
encourage the opposition to join peace talks, which have been underway 
between the government and business, religious, and a few moderate 
opposition politicians since last month. So far the majority of the 
opposition leadership has refused to dialogue, stating that political 
concessions, or "conditions", must be satisfied first.

"We hope that in its 48 hour visit the UNASUR commission can reach 
conclusions that help Venezuela strengthen the climate of peace and 
defend democracy even more, and likewise to collaborate with the people 
so that they can consolidate all mechanisms of social and political 
dialogue," Maduro stated.

/Text based on an original article by Correo del Orinoco, translated and 
edited by Venezuelanalysis.com. Additional information added by VA.com.

  Maria Corina Machado Dismissed as Deputy of Venezuela's National Assembly


By Zoë Clara Dutka

Santa Elena de Uairén, 25^th March 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - On 
Monday Diosdado Cabello, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, 
announced that right-wing opposition leader Maria Corina Machado would 
no longer serve as an assembly deputy.

He cited articles 149 and 191 of the Venezuelan constitution, which 
indicate that public officials may not accept employment, special 
honors, or reimbursement from foreign governments without the 
authorization of parliament.

On Friday, during a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) 
in Washington, Machado was offered Panama's seat to testify on ongoing 
unrest in Venezuela.

Cabello insists that by accepting the seat and making declarations as a 
representative of the Panamanian government, Machado forfeited her right 
as assembly member.

He pointed to a document signed by the Panamanian ambassador designating 
Machado as an alternate representative of the republic, saying that the 
document is still valid and Machado has legally held the title since 
March 20th.

Earlier this month Venezuela severed diplomatic ties and froze economic 
relations with Panama, after Panama repeatedly urged the OAS to 
intervene in Venezuela "on the behalf of democracy".

Machado is well-known as an outspoken leader of the far-right. In 2002, 
she signed the manifesto of a short-lived coup that temporarily ousted 
then president Hugo Chavez. When the coup was overthrown and Chavez 
returned to power, Machado claimed she had signed the decree by accident 
during a visit to the presidential palace on the day of the coup, 
thinking it was a sign-in sheet for guests.

In response to Cabello's accusation, Machado tweeted that it was a 
misunderstanding, and that Panama had "accidentally appointed her to the 

Insisting she still had a legal right as house member, Machado said 
yesterday, "I know well my duties and my rights. To all Venezuelans I 
say I will continue fighting and working as a member of the National 
Assembly. To Mr. Cabello I say he should read the constitution. The 
chief of the assembly has no right to dismiss a member. A 
parliamentarian may only be dismissed by death, departure, a definitive 
criminal sentence or referendum, and that is not the case here."

Incidentally, Machado has been under investigation since early last week 
for her role in recent violent protests.

Though pro-government legislators presented alleged evidence against 
her, Machado could not be charged. As a standing member of the National 
Assembly, she enjoyed legal immunity.

Yesterday the Minister of Penitentiary Services, Iris Varela, remarked 
that by accepting Panama's offer, Machado lost the parliamentary 
immunity reserved for house members and may now be tried for the charges 
pending against her. Varela cited "crimes against the homeland" and 
"crimes against humanity" among those charges.

This is not the first time Machado has been under investigation. Before 
running as an assembly member, she was founding president of the 
right-wing political organization, Súmate. Súmate was on trial in 2005 
and 2006 for using funds from the U.S. Congress's National Endowment for 
Democracy (NED) to allegedly promote civil unrest, and for receiving 
hundreds of thousands of dollars from unknown donors without declaring 
the foreign deposits to the Commission of Currency Administration 
(CADIVI), respectively.

She has long been criticized by the Venezuelan government as being a 
tool for the U.S. agenda in Venezuela, most notably after meeting with 
George W. Bush in the Oval Office in 2005.

After yesterday's events Machado tweeted from Peru that she planned to 
fly directly back to Venezuela to defend her parliamentary status. "We 
will fight until we win, she said. "The brutal regime of Nicolas Maduro 
believed that with this repression they would frighten us... they don't 
know me."

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