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Venezuela’s Maduro pardons over 100 opposition lawmakers

Venezuela’s Maduro pardons over 100 opposition lawmakers
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday pardoned more than 100 lawmakers and associates of opposition leader Juan Guaido “in the interests of promoting national reconciliation,” the government said.

Guaido’s assistant Roberto Marrero and lawmakers Gilber Caro and Renzo Prieto were amongst the names read out by Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez live on state television.

The presidential decree “comes into force from its publication” after which the courts “must implement immediate measures to liberate the persons mentioned,” said Rodriguez.

Amongst those featuring on the list of 110 people was opposition lawmaker Freddy Guevara, who fled to the Chilean embassy the capital Caracas in 2017 after leading anti-government protests that left 125 people dead.

The Supreme Court — which has been accused of pandering to the regime — then ordered that he be denied the freedom to leave the country.

Another person pardoned is Henry Ramos Allup, the head of the Democratic Action party that is the oldest in Venezuela.

As well as those detained, the order includes those with outstanding judicial cases, including opposition lawmakers living in exile.

The announcement came a day after Maduro claimed to be supporting measures to bring “reconciliation” and “deep dialogue” in the deeply polarized South American country ahead of December legislative elections.

Guaido and leading opposition figures have already vowed to boycott that election over a lack of transparency after the Supreme Court appointed election officials — a role that should have been conducted by the opposition-controlled legislature.

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