Criminals in Venezuela imprisoned for terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and fraud could be released under the opposition-proposed Amnesty National Reconciliation Law, passed by a majority in the National Assembly earlier this year.
Venezuelan Ambassador: "For reconciliation the opposition needs to ask forgiveness from the (Guarimbas) victims" pic.twitter.com/aV4JM70efU— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 11, 2016
Venezuela’s right wing claims the law seeks justice by releasing those it believes are “political prisoners,” like Leopoldo Lopez, who is serving time for inciting violence which led to the death of 43 people in February 2014.
Yet in the list of 45 articles of the law, many have nothing to do with political crimes.
Article 15, for example, states that amnesty can be conceded to those crimes considered as “individual terrorism.”
Article 30 states that crimes of “trafficking drugs of a lower quantity” were covered by the Amnesty Law, as were “crimes of fraud, scamming and usury linked to the private activity of the construction of homes” in Article 31.
Prisoners charged with involvement in the 2002 coup could be freed under an earlier clause.
Jorge Perez, National Assembly member of Venezuela’s Socialist bloc, said what the opposition seeks in reality has little to do with amnesty.
“What is amnesty? Something that happens when there are political crimes. What we are seeing is impunity,” he said, speaking at an event entitled “Amnesty vs. Justice” in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito, where family members and survivors of political violence in Venezuela described what the Amnesty Law meant to them.
Jorge Perez, Venezuela Assembly: "The right in Venezuela is no different to the right in Ecuador...They are all influenced by North America"— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 11, 2016
Committee of Guarimba Victims: "If they liberate Leopoldo Lopez, they will silence the victims" pic.twitter.com/5NqZN8prTm— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 11, 2016
Perez told teleSUR that although the government of President Nicolas Maduro vehemently opposed the law, there was little they could do to prevent it because they “respect democracy.”
“All we can do is spread the content of this law. Stop them from hiding the truth,” he said.
“We are invisible to them,” she said. “If they liberate Leopoldo Lopez, they silence the victims. To recognize the victims is to recognize their own crimes.”
Yendy Valasquez, a member of the Committee of Victims of the Guarimbas, whose husband was killed in the 2014 violence, noted that in the whole of the Amnesty Law, the victims are not mentioned once.
The opposition will try to intensify their threats against the Bolivarian Revolution on Saturday with a march calling for the removal of Maduro as president.
President Maduro has called for a counter-protest on Saturday against the renewed decree of President Barack Obama naming Venezuela a "threat" to the U.S.