Fernando Llano / AP
The Constituent Assembly of Venezuela has unanimously decided to free immunity from the self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaidó, and his supporters may signal the imminent arrest and persecution of the opposition leader who questions the reign of President Nicolás Maduro.
Until now, Maduro has renounced the arrest of Guaidó, which is supported by the Trump administration and several dozen other countries. The constituent assembly is true to Maduro.
Guaidó declared himself interim president in January and led several public mobilizations to convince the Venezuelans that he could succeed Maduro and lead the country out of its political and economic crisis.
The Constituent Assembly resigned after Maikel Moreno, judge at the Supreme Court of Venezuela, demanded an ally from Maduro. At the end of February Guaidó slipped out of Venezuela and spent a week supporting his presidency request from European and South American countries. The opposition leader has also been accused of causing violence and illegal foreign funds.
Last week, Venezuelan state examiner Elvis Amoroso, another Maduro ally, banned Guaidó for 15 years in public office.
Before the vote by the Constituent Assembly, Guaidó criticized it and the Maduro-aligned Supreme Court.
"This is not even a persecution," he said, as quoted by Reuters. "This is Inquisition."
The Maduro government has increased its pressure on the opposition in other ways. Last month, government officials arrested Guaidó's chief of staff, Roberto Marrero, during a nocturnal raid on his home – a move Guaidó had condemned as a kidnapping.
Guaidó's wife, Fabiana Rosales, met up with heads of state and Venezuelan exile meetings in Florida on Tuesday. A press conference with Governor Ron DeSantis was delayed by concerns over a "security situation" in Venezuela – reportedly with Guaidó's safety.