Venezuela orders arrest of exiled lawmakers fighting Maduro

Jan 8, 2023, 9:26 PM | Updated: Jan 9, 2023, 1:08 pm
Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab announces the arrest order for three exiled former l...

Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab announces the arrest order for three exiled former lawmakers in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Saab announced that prosecutors had ordered the arrest of Dinorah Figuera and her two deputies on charges of treason, money laundering and impersonating public officials. Figuera lead an all-female team that was selected last week by fellow opposition politicians to lead the National Assembly voted into office in 2015. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s socialist government has ordered the arrest of three exiled former lawmakers at the forefront of renewed efforts to unseat President Nicolas Maduro.

Dinorah Figuera leads an all-female team selected last week by fellow opposition politicians to lead the National Assembly that was voted into office in 2015. The opposition-controlled body is widely considered Venezuela’s last democratically elected institution, and although its five-year mandate ended in late 2020, it continues to function as a symbolic shadow to Maduro’s rubber-stamping National Assembly.

On Monday, Maduro’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced that prosecutors had ordered the arrest of Figuera and her two deputies on charges of treason, money laundering and impersonating public officials.

However, the arrest order is unlikely to be carried out. All three women, like many of Maduro’s opponents, have fled Venezuela in recent years, fearing retaliation. Figuera, a surgeon by training, lives in Spain.

In January 2019, the National Assembly voted to stop recognizing Maduro as president after several top opponents were barred from running against him. It then appointed Juan Guaidó to be the nation’s “interim president,” in accordance with the order of succession outlined in Venezuela’s constitution. More than 60 countries quickly recognized him as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

The opposition then boycotted the 2020 legislative elections, leaving the successor National Assembly firmly under Maduro’s control.

Figuera had been an unknown backbench lawmaker elected alongside Guaidó. She surged to the front of the opposition’s efforts to unseat Maduro as part of an internal putsch against the beleaguered Guaidó, whose failure to shake Maduro’s grip on power has frustrated many Venezuelans.

Maduro ally Jorge Rodriguez, the head of the pro-government National Assembly, celebrated the announcement of the arrest orders, calling the 2015 National Assembly a “band of thieves” for their attempts to win control of Venezuela’s extensive overseas oil assets, including Houston-based refinery Citgo.

Figuera said the arrest order won’t intimidate her and others from carrying out their role of protecting Venezuela’s overseas assets.

“We’ll continue with even greater strength,” she said Monday during an online press conference, her first since emerging as an opposition leader.

Meanwhile, a senior U.S. State Department official said the Biden administration stands with those “courageously defending Venezuelan democracy.”

“Further attacks on the opposition … impede democratic solutions,” Brian Nichols, the Assistant Secretary of State for the western hemisphere, said in a statement on Twitter. “All efforts must be focused on charting a path to free and fair elections in 2024.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A sign is shown on a Google building at their campus in Mountain View, Calif., Sept. 24, 201...
Associated Press

Google hopes ‘Bard’ will outsmart ChatGPT, Microsoft in AI

Google is girding for a battle of wits in the field of artificial intelligence with “Bard," a conversational service apparently aimed at countering the popularity of the ChatGPT tool backed by Microsoft.
1 day ago
A sign stands on a quiet day in what used to be AmericaÅfs largest overseas naval base at the Subi...
Associated Press

US forces returning to Philippines to counter China threats

SUBIC BAY, Philippines (AP) — Once-secret ammunition bunkers and barracks lay abandoned, empty and overrun by weeds — vestiges of American firepower in what used to be the United States’ largest overseas naval base at Subic Bay in the northern Philippines. But that may change in the near future. The U.S. has been taking steps […]
1 day ago
Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe, left, arrives at the parliament to deliver his policy sp...
Associated Press

Sri Lankan leader appeals for patience amid economic crisis

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president on Wednesday appealed for patience amid the country’s worst economic crisis but promised brighter times ahead. President Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a policy speech after inaugurating a new parliamentary session that he had been forced to make unpopular decisions to salvage the country’s finances, including by implementing […]
1 day ago
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses a media conference after the EU-Ukraine summit in...
Associated Press

Zelenskyy to visit UK for first time since Russia’s invasion

LONDON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Britain on Wednesday, his first trip to the U.K. since Russia’s invasion began nearly a year ago and only his second confirmed journey outside Ukraine during the war. The British government says Zelenskyy will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, address Parliament and meet with […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Indonesian police in Bali detain Australian wanted by Italy

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) — Police on the Indonesian resort island of Bali have detained an Australian who is wanted by Italy since 2016 on drug trafficking charges. Antonio Strangio, who holds dual Italian and Australian citizenship, was detained at Bali International Airport after arriving from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last Thursday, said Antonius Parlindungan, an immigration […]
1 day ago
South Korean rescue team members prepare to board a plane to leave for quake-ravaged Turkey at the ...
Associated Press

Global quake rescue effort hits ground in Turkey, Syria

Medical personnel, soldiers, and handlers with trained search dogs sent from around the world are arriving in Turkey and Syria to help rescue survivors of Monday’s earthquake. Here’s a glance at the assistance being provided: — The European Union has mobilized search and rescue teams to help Turkey, while the bloc’s Copernicus satellite system has […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Venezuela orders arrest of exiled lawmakers fighting Maduro