Supreme Court orders military prison for Guaido deputy

Erika Holt
May 11, 2019

The vice president of Venezuela's opposition-run parliament was arrested by secret police in Caracas on Wednesday, the first arrest in an apparent crackdown on opposition leaders involved in a failed revolt against Nicolás Maduro last week. The vehicle was towed, with him inside, to Caracas' notorious El Helicoide prison, the Guardian reports.

He narrated the drama in real time on Twitter, while images of the incident also circulated on social media.

"Terror, state terrorism", said Guaido, whose own parliamentary immunity has been stripped by the Supreme Court.

His arrest drew swift condemnation from the United States, which argues Maduro is a dictator who has undermined the rule of law.

But the socialist leader remains steadfast, backed by Venezuela's powerful military high command.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Maduro, recognized by China and Russian Federation among numerous other countries, has accused the United States of seeking to overthrow his government and install Guaido in a bid to get hold of Venezuela's natural resources.

"They are trying to break up the body that represents all Venezuelans, but they will not achieve it", he tweeted.

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Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, looks on during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela May 9, 2019.

The US government's Venezuelan embassy, based in Washington, said Zambrano's "arbitrary detention" was "illegal and inexcusable".

Guaido said on Thursday the arrests were part of a bid by Maduro to dismantle the National Assembly legislature, Venezuela's sole opposition-controlled institution but one which had already been rendered powerless by the pro-Maduro Supreme Court.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab says the two days of clashes that followed left six people dead.

"It's a politically motivated action aimed at silencing the National Assembly", an European Union foreign policy spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr Guaido said in a speech after the first indictments on Tuesday that the government's "only response.is to persecute, because they no longer govern, because they no longer have command".

Venezuela has suffered more than four years of recession marked by shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.

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