It was announced yesterday (1 September 2020), that 110 members of Venezuela’s right wing opposition convicted of criminal acts are to be pardoned and have their release ordered by President Nicolas Maduro in a bid to strengthen the democratic process and to reduce the risk of violence.
Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez made the announcement from the Miraflores Presidential Palace, urging the opposition to “take this unique opportunity to settle all disagreements” in the run up to Venezuela’s parliamentary election this December.
Rodriguez made a point of saying that this measure to pardon convicted criminals was done in good faith to encourage participation in the election and to foster reconciliation within Venezuela. This move was originally suggested by the Truth, Justice, Peace, and Public Tranquillity Commission, in an attempt to make the election as tranquil and representative as possible to avoid a repeat of the violence that marred the last legislative election.
The move can be interpreted as an olive branch to the parts of the opposition not totally under the thumb of Juan Guaido and his friends in Washington. At a time when Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) have taken a major blow by losing a not insignificant part of their coalition.
The Communist Party of Venezuela and Fatherland For All as well as several minor parties have recently broken away from Maduro and formed their own electoral coalition due to what they describe as regressive and counter revolutionary actions taken by the government.
These pardons could be interpreted as trying to secure peace before the election in preparation for when Juan Guaido inevitably tries to reject whatever result doesn’t favour his US paymasters.