Venezuelan Opposition Prepares Broad Amnesty Law

Opposition deputy Freddy Guevara

HAVANA TIMES — The Venezuelan opposition is finalizing the details of the “Amnesty Law” which it plans to enact after Tuesday when the new National Assembly is sworn in, reported dpa news.

Freddy Guevara, one of the newly elected opposition representatives, said that within the opposition they are discussing three bills together with human rights organizations to identify the most appropriate one, which will benefit all “political prisoners” who have been arrested since the beginning of the late President Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution in 1999.

“We are working on an amnesty that will not only refer to the events of the past year or 2014. The law being debated is for an amnesty that will free all those persecuted by the revolution, everyone from 99 until today,” said Guevara.

The opposition won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in December, capturing 112 of the 167 seats in the National Assembly, which results in a two-thirds majority that would allow them to pass laws without negotiating with the Chavista minority.

During the campaign the opposition coalition promised that in case of victory one of its first acts would be to enact a “Law on Amnesty” to release more than 70 political prisoners who are believed to exist in Venezuela, including Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of the Voluntad Popular party.

The swearing in of the new Parliament is scheduled to take place on Tuesday afternoon at the headquarters of the Legislative Palace, located in downtown Caracas. The new National Assembly will be chaired by the experienced leader Henry Ramos, who on Sunday was elected by a vote of the opposition deputies.

However  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that he will fight an amnesty “because the imprisoned politicians are “murderers” and “human rights violators” who would have called subversive protests to topple the government.

Reiterating that Parliament will pass the “Amnesty Law” despite the opposition of Maduro, Guevara stressed that the opposition will continue to work this year for the constitutional exit of the president, who they blame for the current economic crisis in the oil-producing.

We in the Voluntad Popular party call to make 2016 the year of change for “all Venezuelans who dream of a land of opportunity, justice, freedom, equality and reconciliation,” said Guevara. “The year 2015 was the year of the preamble and this is the year change. The country demands for us to replace the inefficient, corrupt leaders of this government, violators of human rights, “he added.

Guevara said the opposition leadership will work to “activate the constitutional mechanism to complete the change.” However, he did not specify what tool will be used within the Constitution, which provides for a recall referendum, as well as a constitutional amendment to shorten the government term or the convening of a plenipotentiary Constituent Assembly.