The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, stated that the most recent release of political prisoners by the Maduro dictatorship does not even address the serious political crisis that the nation is going through because there are still hundreds of political prisoners in the country, who should never have been deprived of their freedom in the first place.
“There are still hundreds of political prisoners and, just like those who are now being offered house arrest or an end (for the moment) to their criminal cases, none of these Venezuelans should have been imprisoned for a single day,” Pompeo said in a statement.
With respect to the hostages of the dictatorship who were released, he indicated “for the prisoners who were released, returning home is a day to celebrate. The United States stands together in respect and admiration for these patriots and the sacrifices they have made to free their country.”
Nevertheless, the head of U.S. diplomacy stated that “the condition of democracy in Venezuela continues to be terrible. These dismissals of the charges are conditional, and officials threaten to rescind the benefit if any person “again commits any act of terrorism, violence or coup,” as arbitrarily determined by the regime. Among those still threatened, harassed and accused by the regime are Venezuelan leaders such as Juan Guaidó, Leopoldo López and Julio Borges, as well as the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States Carlos Vecchio and many other fighters for Venezuelan democracy.
Similarly, the U.S. Secretary of State also condemned that this release “did not include any prominent Chavista or trade union leaders imprisoned, nor did it include any members of the military, despite their disproportionate number among the political prisoners.”
On the other hand, Pompeo clarified that most of the exiled democratic political leaders in Venezuela will not be able to return, because they know that they could be imprisoned instantly, due to the little credibility that the dictatorship has. “The same day Requesens was released, the mother of National Assembly deputy Armando Armas was arbitrarily detained, reminding us that the regime maintains a revolving door of imprisonment and intimidation to extort participation in the Maduro electoral farce of December 6th.”
THE U.S. REJECTS ELECTORAL FRAUD
Regarding the electoral fraud that Maduro is orchestrating for the month of December, Pompeo pointed out, “in Venezuela there are no conditions for free and fair elections and the release of several political prisoners does not change that.”
“None of the political parties whose leadership was removed and their names, symbols and assets stolen by the regime have been restored, including the leftist parties that challenge the regime’s control over Chávez’s political legacy. Many political opponents of the regime are still prohibited from running for public office. The NEC illegally remains under strict control of the regime, a fact that will become critical because complex registration processes are in its hands. Freedom of the press does not exist. Freedom of expression does not exist. Freedom of assembly does not exist. These minimum conditions to receive a credible international electoral observation mission are still absent,” he explained.
For this reason, Pompeo ruled out that the electoral fraud organized by the dictatorship is the solution to the crisis. “We urge all democratic actors, both inside and outside Venezuela, to continue insisting on the necessary, internationally accepted conditions for free and fair elections”.
“We, and our democratic partners in Venezuela and the international community, will not contribute to legitimize yet another electoral fraud carried out by Maduro’s regime. Venezuelan citizens deserve our continued solidarity in their struggle to restore democracy in their country,” he said.