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Arrested Venezuelan activist faces conspiracy and treason charges

Wednesday, February 14th 2024 - 10:55 UTC
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It has been days since her relatives and legal team have heard of San Miguel It has been days since her relatives and legal team have heard of San Miguel

The US Government of President Joseph Biden has expressed its concern after the arrest in Venezuela of 57-year-old activist and military expert Rocío San Miguel, who will face conspiracy, treason, and terrorism charges, according to Attorney General, Tarek William Saab.

The White House claims that with her detention, Caracas is not abiding by the Barbados Agreement reached in October with the opposition, whereby elections are to be held in the second semester of 2024. “We are aware of reports that Rocio San Miguel, and I believe a couple of members of her family, have been detained. We are deeply concerned about that,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. The 57-year-old lawyer was detained last month as she was about to leave the country with five family members: her daughter, two brothers, her father and her ex-husband.

The Barbados Agreement also entailed lifting all disenfranchisements from potential candidates but the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) ratified the disqualification of opposition leader María Corina Machado. Maduro “has to fulfill the commitments he made about how they are going to treat civil society, political activists and opposition parties, and even those members of Venezuelan society who want to run as candidates” in the elections, added Kirby.

In January, Washington reimposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned gold mining company, which it had lifted in October, and threatened to do the same in April with the oil and gas sector if the Venezuelan government persists in reneging on the deal.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yván Gil accused Washington of “protecting and sheltering terrorists.” Venezuelan authorities link San Miguel, a Venezuelan and Spanish national, to an alleged conspiracy against Maduro. The place where she is being held and the conditions in which she is being held are unknown. She is said to have spent “100 hours incommunicado” and that her detention was followed by that of five of her family members, including her daughter and her ex-partner, a retired military officer, also accused of being linked to an alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Nicolás Maduro.

Tarek William Saab's office links San Miguel to “Brazalete blanco”, an alleged plot to attack a military base in Táchira, a state bordering Colombia, and kill Maduro in the process. Maduro, who often denounces plans to overthrow him, said that his government neutralized five “conspiracies” in 2023. The president, seeking his third re-election this year, had already accused San Miguel, in 2014, of being involved in “a military uprising.”

San Miguel heads the NGO Control Ciudadano which records human rights violations. Her organization issued a statement Tuesday saying that ”As of 10:30 a.m. today (Tuesday) February 13, the technical defense has not been able to communicate with Rocío San Miguel“, whom the prosecution charged with the crimes of ”treason to the homeland“, ”conspiracy“ and ”terrorism“, charges for which other Venezuelan activists have been prosecuted.

Her ex-husband, José Gonzales De Canales Plaza, a retired Air Force colonel, is accused of ”revealing political and military secrets concerning the security of the nation“ before a court with jurisdiction over terrorism.

Her four other family members, including Miranda, were released from prison after receiving precautionary measures consisting of ”periodic appearances” in court.

Categories: Politics, Venezuela.

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