Venezuela accused human rights activist of plot to assassinate Maduro

Venezuelan authorities detained the lawyer and human rights activist Rocío San Miguel after accusing her of being part of a conspiracy to assassinate President Nicolás Maduro, prosecutor Tarek William Saab said in X.

Saint Michael was arrested in connection with a “conspiracy plot” that targeted senior government officials, including Maduro, and which included planned attacks against military units in Táchira and other entities in the country, Saab said. The arrest was made on Friday before he boarded an international flight, according to Provea, a human rights NGO in the country.

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The arrest of San Miguel, a military analyst who directs the NGO Citizen Control for Security, Defense and the National Armed Forces, came after three collaborators of María Corina Machado were detained at the end of January, also accused of conspire to assassinate Maduro.

Machado, who was banned by the country’s highest court from challenging Maduro in this year’s presidential election, and other opposition figures accuse the Venezuelan leader of abuse of authority to tighten his grip on power.

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Total, Some 260 political prisoners are detained in the country, according to Foro Penal, a human rights organization based in Caracas. The United States has expressed concern about the Maduro government’s recent harsh repression, which comes just months after the regime and the opposition agreed to terms to hold fairer elections in the second half of the year.

After the signing of the so-called Barbados agreement in October, the Biden Administration announced a temporary easing of sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector and other key industries. But after Maduro abandoned his promises, the US has said it will not renew the suspension of energy sanctions when it expires in April.

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