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Venezuelan opposition criticizes 'authoritarian' arrest of lawmaker

By
Andrew V. Pestano
Gilber Caro, a member of Venezuela's National Assembly representing Miranda state, seen here speaking to supporters, was arrested on Wednesday on charges that he attempted to instigate anti-government violence. The Venezuelan opposition has criticized the arrest. Photo courtesy of Gilber Caro
Gilber Caro, a member of Venezuela's National Assembly representing Miranda state, seen here speaking to supporters, was arrested on Wednesday on charges that he attempted to instigate anti-government violence. The Venezuelan opposition has criticized the arrest. Photo courtesy of Gilber Caro

CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The Venezuelan opposition has criticized the arrest of Gilber Caro, a member of the National Assembly accused of attempting to instigate violent anti-government acts.

Venezuelan intelligence police arrested Caro and his girlfriend on Wednesday. Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, recently appointed by President Nicolas Maduro to lead efforts against alleged coup d'etat attempts, said officers found an assault rifle and explosives in Caro's vehicle.

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"This citizen will have to answer to the justice. Only with justice will we achieve peace," El Aissami said in a televised address. "Lord knows what would have happened if we hadn't detained and neutralized this threat."

The Venezuelan opposition, consolidated in the Democratic Unity Roundtable opposition coalition, condemned the arrest of Caro, who represents Miranda state, as an act of political suppression.

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"When a 'competitive authoritarianism' ceases to be competitive, it does not cease to be authoritarian. That is to say, when an authoritarian regime that previously was able to win elections loses that capacity, it does not cease to be an arrogant, sectarian, arrogant power," the opposition said in a joint statement. "That is what explains the desperate actions of the regime perpetrated today ... against the deputy Gilber Caro."

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Venezuela is facing a political crisis that coincides with an economic breakdown. Jesus "Chuo" Torrealba, leader of the Venezuelan opposition, on Wednesday said his side would not engage Maduro in further negotiations unless the president's regime fulfills previous agreements.

"Instead of an 'anti-coup command' the regime accelerates its anti-democratic strategy of continued coup against democracy, against the Constitution and against the people, ignoring the Parliament, making prisoners of opposition deputies and harassing governors," the opposition added.

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