Venezuela: Dissident Zambrano released from custody


Four months after his arrest on treason charges for involvement in a military uprising against Venezuela’s government on April 30, opposition politician Edgar Zambrano was released from custody.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro has facilitated the release after “a partial agreement” with a number of opposition parties on Monday, Attorney General Tarek William Saab said on Tuesday.

Zambrano, the deputy of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, was detained in May for supporting a defeated military coup against the president.

Immediately after his release, Zambrano asked authorities to release four other political prisoners.

Zambrano, who called his arrest “kidnapping”, is forbidden from leaving the country and is expected to appear in court every 30 days, according to a statement by the Supreme Court of Venezuela.

Main opposition leader Guaido attributed Zambrano’s release to the international pressure led by the UN on Maduro government and stressed that it is not a “kind gesture” from the “dictatorship”.

The Venezuelan government and five opposition party leaders announced that they agreed on starting a new dialogue process to tackle the problems facing the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) nation.

The Mesa Nacional, or National Table, process will reportedly focus on future elections, prisoner release and a united opposition to the U.S. blockade.

Guaido was not part of the new deal and said the Norway-mediated negotiations are “finished” and reiterated that he represents the only legitimate government in Venezuela.

Maduro hailed the agreements signed by five opposition parties and called it a “step to move towards living together and peace”.

“All the doors of dialogue will remain open for the tranquility of all Venezuelans,” he said on Twitter.

Since the beginning of this year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as Maduro and U.S.-backed Guaido engage in a power battle amid a dire economic crisis in the Latin American nation.

Nearly 5,000 people leave Venezuela every day due to instability and uncertainty amid the economic and political crisis, and three million Venezuelans have left since 2015, according to the UN refugee agency.
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