Arrest Warrants Issued for Those Linked To Alleged Plot to Assassinate President Maduro

San Francisco, June 12th 2014.

Venezuela’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega DíazYesterday, Venezuelan attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz announced the order for the arrest of Pedro Burelli, Ricardo Koesling and Diego Arria. They are all linked to the alleged plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro which was detailed in a series of emails seized by Venezuelan intelligence services and released by the government during the final week of May.

Attorney General Diaz indicated that Burelli, the former director of the state-owned oil company PDVSA, evaded his court date earlier this week and that all three men are currently resident in the United States. She stated the government’s intention to solicit their capture through the international criminal police organization, Interpol.

Arria, a former right-wing primaries candidate for president and former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Koesling, a lawyer, and Burelli have long been active critics of the elected socialist government formerly led by the late president Hugo Chavez.

Right-wing opposition select ‘street action’ over democratic elections

In the correspondence publicized by the Venezuelan government, the men refer to longstanding electoral strategies meant to remove President Maduro from office. They also discuss a newer, more extreme approach championed by hard-line opposition leaders Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo Lopez and embraced by anti-government street barricaders who favor “street action” to force Maduro’s resignation.

In an email sent to Arria, Burelli writes, “We will take the streets as we should, eventually those of the [presidential] palace, and we’ll fence that son of a bitch in. We have people in Miraflores [presidential palace] thanks to our friend Bocaranda [a prominent opposition journalist] who in any case will be useful when the time comes.

Following Diaz’s announcement, Burelli tweeted his disbelief that the warrants would lead anywhere. He suggested Diaz “familiarize herself” with Interpol proceedings, and asked how she planned to base her case on “falsified emails”.

“Interpol knows about dictatorships,” Burelli tweeted last night. “All dictatorships commit one final error. Will it be this one or the next?” he asked.

Evidence to be taken to the US government

In his weekly radio address, Maduro stated his intention to carry evidence of the plot to the United States government, granted that “one man is headed for New York, and the other two are in Miami.” He also said he plans to bring detailed proof to the G77 summit this weekend in Bolivia.

Diaz also announced Maria Corina Machado’s interview date to give her account of the “plot” messages in the Attorney General’s office for this coming Monday, and ordered for hard-line leader Leopoldo Lopez’s trial to begin. Lopez has been in jail since February for allegedly inciting violent crime related to the anti-government protests that began at that time. His trial will be public, Diaz informed reporters, “so that everyone may see the evidence.”

Over the weekend protestors marched in support of Lopez, holding banners that read “We are all Leopoldo Lopez” and “La Salida is constitutional,” in reference to the street action strategy favored by Lopez known in Spanish as “The Exit.”

Continued violence

On Tuesday, a lieutenant and three soldiers suffered severe gunshot wounds after a “terrorist” shooting on the 14th Infantry Brigade in Barquisimeto, Lara state. Commanding general Cesar Figueria told reporters this was the second time the barracks had suffered an attack of this nature in recent months, bringing a total of injured soldiers up to 17.

The following day a co-op headquarters was attacked in Valencia, Carabobo state. The country’s governing socialist party (PSUV) was working out of this building at the time. A total of three offices were burnt almost to the ground, with all of their contents inside.

This morning barricades were set up by opposition militants on a major highway in Valencia, rendering transport impossible and covering the area in the toxic smoke produced by the burning of tires.

Vice President Jorge Arreaza yesterday handed over the keys to a brand new vehicle to 77-year-old Carlos Alberto Pardo, whose school bus was attacked last month in Barquisimeto by militants wielding molotov cocktails. His wife was consequently trapped in the vehicle as it burned, and rescued by a photojournalist who was covering the events.

Representatives of the Transportation Union of the Caracas Metro, and the Workers’ Organization for The City, Farming, and Fishing traveled yesterday to Geneva to make a formal claim before the United Nations, detailing the “terrorist activity,” widely reported as “student protests” that has damaged their livelihood.

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