Guaidó Faces Likely Trial and Imprisonment in Aftermath of Losing Immunity

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CARACAS – The National Constituent Assembly, the legislative organ of Venezuela created by the supporters of the legitimate president Nicolás Maduro, approved the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of Juan Guaidó.

According to lawyer Enrique Tineo, this decision is not only legal, but also “the constitutional and necessary consequence of more than two months of harassment and flagrant crimes against the country.”

“As the National Assembly, which would be the entity in charge of approving the waiver of immunity, has been in disobedience since 2015,” he continues, “their actions have no legal effect. A preliminary merit judgment procedure established by the Constitution is being followed.”

Gross crimes are crimes that do not benefit from parliamentary immunity because they are crimes that are outside the civil service. Self-proclaimed president of a country in a public square is one of them.

According to media minister Jorge Rodríguez, he was part of a “terrorist” cell along with other names, such as Roberto Marreo [Chief of Staff of the self-proclaimed president] and Leonardo López, to carry out “acts of terrorism” as “selective killings” or “the taking of the Palace of Miraflores” [seat of the Presidency of Venezuela] are also part of the list.

“From the moment Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela in a small square in the city of Caracas,” Tineo points out, he was already weaving the web of his personal and political tragedy.

“There was a lot of abuse of parliamentary immunity to justify a protection that should not exist for this type of crime,” jurist Olga Álvarez said. “Immunity is only to protect the public official and legislator, so that no one will bother him in the exercise of his duties by reckless denunciations,” he continues.

“Reports that are not based on any offense or act and that anyone could do only to disturb their activity,” explains the lawyer.

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The lawyer explains that in Chile, for example, MPs only enjoy immunity within Parliament, outside of it they are normal citizens. Expanding this protection to other activities of your life gives rise to impunity.

“Guaidó is nothing,” said Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Constituent Assembly, minutes before the verdict and unanimous vote against the opposition leader. He also asked for patience and said, “Let’s not despair. The law will come.”

According to Tineo, we are faced with what is known in the Criminal Code as a “non-justiciable political case”. It is the same if we say that “the authorities have to ponder before acting,” he says. Nevertheless, “there is a certainty that the individual is committing an offense because the performances and the discursive line of Mr. Juan Guaidó imply acts of preparation for a civil war.

The lawyer is convinced that [Guaidó] will end up in jail: “Your future is to be a sub judice subject to criminal prosecution, most likely deprived of liberty.”

However, both the lawyer and the expert Olga Álvarez consider that the arrest will not be immediate. “Judicial times and political times do not necessarily coincide,” said the lawyer. “In a situation of war you can not make hasty decisions, we have to do them in a timely manner.”

An opportune time could be Saturday, April 6. The opposition called new demonstrations, and on this occasion they have a special aspect. Guaidó wants another “D-Day”: a simulacrum of what has been termed “Operation Freedom” to increase pressure on the streets to take Miraflores Palace and expel Maduro.

The mock “Operation Freedom”, Alvarez said, “is characterized by violent and terrorist actions, but the government is giving time. The opposition has already burned many cartridges, the last one, the national electric blackout, if given the time they intended, would lead to a genocide with systematic deprivation of food and medicines. Genocide is a crime typified in the Rome Statute,” he said.

On Guaidó, the lawyer thinks that he is a character “created in an analytical laboratory because it has no political trajectory. It was created for this purpose, but it is not in the memory, it is dissolving and now we have to demonstrate to the world that Venezuela is capable of doing justice.”

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