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News > Latin America

Venezuela's Suspended Attorney General Travels Mysteriously to Brazil

  • Luisa Ortega Diaz, Venezuela's suspended attorney general.

    Luisa Ortega Diaz, Venezuela's suspended attorney general. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 August 2017
Opinion

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is to ask Interpol to issue a red alert for the arrest of the fugitive attorney general, Luisa Ortega Diaz, and her husband.

Just a day after the Colombian government said Luisa Ortega Diaz was under its protection, and offered asylum to her and her husband, Venezuela's suspended attorney general has abruptly left for Brazil. Colombia's migration agency announced Ortega's departure, but gave no further details.

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Ortega fled Venezuela on Friday after alleging "political persecution." She apparently traveled with her husband, German Ferrer, and at least one of her aides, by boat to Aruba and then on to Bogota by plane.

It is not clear why she has now left Colombia or whether she will return. But unconfirmed reports say she may be planning to attend a meeting in Brazil of attorney generals from the Mercosur countries. The regional body has suspended Venezuela from taking part in its activities.

Ortega is implicated in two investigations in Venezuela.

Speaking to the international media on Tuesday, the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, said he would request the international arrest of Ortega and her husband.


Venezuela's Supreme Court requested the temporary suspension of the attorney general from her duties on August 5, while it investigated accusations of grave breaches of duty against her. The newly elected Constituent Assembly ratified the court's request.

Last week, Venezuela's new acting attorney general, Tarek William Saab, opened a parallel investigation into an alleged network of extortion at the attorney general's office, which he said involved Ortega's husband, who was a ruling party member of parliament, and a number of prosecutors, as well as one of Ortega's top aides.

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Luisa Ortega was once regarded as a loyal Chavista, but she began to oppose the government of Nicolas Maduro earlier this year. She tried several time to block the elections to the new Consituent Assembly, which took place on July 30. 

In response to Ortega spiriting her family to Colombia in the middle of an investigation, Venezuela's foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, said, “Bogota has become the center of the conspiracy against democracy and peace in Venezuela," He added, "What can be expected of the government that has welcomed the head of the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez?”

During her brief stay in Bogota, local media reported that Ortega had met with U.S. diplomats and that she might travel to the United States next week.

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