Venezuela’s top judge moves to prosecute opposition leader Juan Guaido

World Today

Venezuela's top judge moves to prosecute opposition leader Juan GuaidoVenezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido (C) is flanked by National Assembly’s first vice-president Edgar Zambrano (L) and second vice-president Stalin Gonzalez as he speaks during a National Assembly session in Caracas on April 2, 2019. – Venezuela’s Supreme Court called Monday for Juan Guaido to be stripped of his legislative immunity, tightening the noose on the opposition chief just days after authorities announced a ban on him holding public office. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP)

The head of Venezuela’s Supreme Court has recommended opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido be prosecuted. That’s fueling fears he could soon face arrest at the direction of President Nicolas Maduro, the man Guaido is trying to replace.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas reports from Caracas.

Guaido could end up behind bars after Venezuela’s Supreme Court recommended prosecuting him for violating a ban on leaving the country and inciting violence linked to street protests.

“The current decision is now submitted to the President of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly, with the aim to strip Juan Guaido of his parliamentary immunity,” Venezuelan Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno said.

As president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Guaido has immunity. He’s fighting President Nicolas Maduro in an effort to lead the country.

“There’s no doubt they want to see me in jail. There’s no doubt about it, but, I’m not concerned,” Guaido said.

Guaido toured several Latin American countries a few weeks ago. He argues the pro-government Constituent Assembly has no authority to strip him of his parliamentary immunity. But, that may not matter.

“The way the Venezuelan government takes decisions is based on their criteria and without following any constitutional order and law,” constitutional lawyer Juan Manuel Raffalli said.

President Maduro controls Venezuela’s ministries and public institutions. And the Venezuelan armed forces are still loyal to him.

If Guaido is arrested, it will likely increase international tensions. He has the support of more than 50 countries, including the U.S. which has said consequences will be severe if something happens to Guaido or his family.

Guaido, meanwhile, says he’s not stepping down and will move forward with his plans to create a new government and to restore democracy in Venezuela.