Venezuela: Maria Corina Machado Faces Conspiracy Charges
by Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson,
Office of the Spokesperson
U.S. Departement of State
December 3, 2014
Earlier today, Venezuelan opposition leader and former National Assembly Deputy Maria Corina Machado was charged for allegedly conspiring in a plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro. If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 16 years in prison. We are deeply concerned by what appears to be the Venezuelan government’s continuing effort to intimidate its political opponents through abuse of the legal process. The charges against Machado raise concerns once again about Venezuela’s arbitrary use of prosecutorial power to silence and punish government critics.
We continue to call on the Venezuelan government to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and release political prisoners, including dozens of students, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Mayors Daniel Ceballos and Enzo Scarano. Such actions will serve to enhance respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and are consistent with the principles and values set forth in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.