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Venezuelan Intelligence Service Arrests Vice-President of Opposition-Controlled ‘National Assembly’

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Venezuelan Intelligence Service Arrests Vice-President of Opposition-Controlled 'National Assembly'

Edgar Zambrano with Juan Guaido at the failed coup attempt at April 30th. Click to see full-size image

On May 8th, Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) arrested Edgar Zambrano, vice president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly for the participation in the coup attempt of April 30th.

Zambrano is one of US-Proclaimed Interim President Juan Guaido’s top aides.

Zambrano tweeted in the afternoon of May 8th that his car had been surrounded by Sebin officers.

“We alert all the people of Venezuela at this time 6:35pm. We are surrounded by the SEBIN, we are inside our vehicle at the Democratic Action facility in Caracas.”

He and the other passengers refused to leave the vehicle and were lifted by a crane and moved directly to the Helicoide.

The arrest was confirmed by the president of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), Diosdado Cabello. “A little while ago they detained one of the leaders of the April 30 coup attempt, Edgar Zambrano,” he said in his television program.

Guaido said that the “dictatorship” had kidnapped Zambrano, “violating all processes” and “displaying the authoritarianism.”

He further said that the opposition had alerted its “international allies” about the alleged plan of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government to shut down the opposition-controlled National Assembly by “mass arrests of deputies.”

Guaido’s staunch supporters in the face of US National Security Adviser John Bolton and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have not yet provided their comments on the matter, since they appeared occupied with escalating their rhetoric toward Iran, among others.

Luis Amagro, the head of the Organization of American States, which Venezuela recently left, condemned the arrest, demanding Zambrano’s release.

“We demand that the SEBIN stop the intimidation, respect the jurisdiction of the members of the National Assembly and that Edgar Zambrano is immediately released. No more political persecution by the Venezuelan dictatorship.”

Zambrano’s arrest comes in addition to the Supreme Court of Venezuela finding 7 members of the National Assembly guilty on May 7th.

They were as follows: Herry Ramos, Luis Florido, Richard Blanco, Marianela Magallanes, Americo De Grazia, Andres Velazques and Jose Calzadilla. No news if whether they were detained have surfaced.

Separately, Maikel Moreno, the President of Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice on May 8th, expressed his rejection of US Vice President Mike Pence’s claims that Venezuelan officials would be subjected to US sanctions if they don’t back the opposition and abandon Nicolas Maduro.

“We denounce the fact that the United States is trying to get the Venezuelan judicial power to step away from democracy and promote a coup d’état.”

“The judges and magistrates of the TSJ categorically and forcefully reject the threat made by Mr. Pence, who, in a disrespectful and interfering manner seeks to subjugate the highest Venezuelan judicial authorities through threats that violate the principles of independence of self-determination and sovereignty,” he said in a statement.

“This unlawful, despicable and intolerable action violates the norms and principles of international law that govern the relations between civilized nations. This is a case of a new unilateral threat laid upon the Venezuelan Judicial Power, specifically on the TSJ composed of 32 magistrates.”

On May 7th, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell accused the US of acting like a “cowboy” in Venezuela and stressed that the solution in the country should be “peaceful, negotiated and democratic.”

“The contact group which we are part of is not on the same wavelength as the U.S. administration, which is like a cowboy who says ‘look at me, I will draw my gun,'” Borrell said during an interview with TV Espanola.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of sanctions Idriss Jazairy claimed that the US’ unilateral sanctions go against UN’s Declaration on the Principles of International Law concerning friendly relations and cooperation among States.

On May 6th, he expressed deep concern of US sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba and Iran.

“The resort by a major power of its dominant position in the international financial arena against its own allies to cause economic hardship to the economy of sovereign states is contrary to international law, and inevitably undermines the human rights of their citizens,” the Special Rapporteur said.

“The international community must come together to challenge what amounts to blockades ignoring a country’s sovereignty, the human rights of its people, and the rights of third countries trading with sanctioned States, all while constituting a threat to world peace and security”, the UN expert concluded.

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