Venezuela’s Attorney General calls trial against her a “circus”

Latin America

The Venezuelan government is holding pre-trial hearings against the country’s attorney general, which may lead to her being fired from her post.

Luisa Ortega is accused of “grave errors” in her work. The lawyer has been chief prosecutor since 2007, but began to be openly critical of the government earlier this year.

CGTN’s Stephen Gibbs reports from Caracas.

She’s been described as a traitor to the government as well as an unlikely hero for the opposition. For a decade, Luisa Ortega was a faithful prosecutor for Venezuela’s leftist leaders. But, in March, she turned.

An attempt by Venezuela’s Supreme Court to usurp the power of the opposition-controlled parliament led Ms. Ortega to declare that the government was violating the constitution. It was a move that galvanized the opposition. Anti-government protests, some violent, have been almost continuous since then.

The Maduro government accuses the attorney general of dangerously provoking all this. Ms. Ortega said the blame lies not with the people, but with the government.

“Here we are told a high percentage of the country is terrorist and what I think is that we have state terrorism,” Ortega said.

Ortega has taken a series of legal actions, attempting to remove Supreme Court judges from office, stopping protesters from being tried in military courts. And she has sharply criticized plans underway to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution.

President Maduro has refused to back down. He has promoted two officials that his attorney general accused of human rights abuses.

The Supreme Court has begun a trial of the attorney general for alleged “grave errors” in office. She said she won’t attend – describing the whole process as a “circus.”

Nothing, she said, will stop her from defending the constitution she accuses her own party of breaking. Luisa Ortega is a particularly powerful figure of dissent, because she is still inside the Maduro government. But many people here are asking, for how long?