Caracas Denies Ordering Assembly Leader's Detention


Caracas denies ordering assembly leader's detention

Caracas, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 14th Jan, 2019 ) :The president of the opposition-controlled but sidelined National Assembly was detained by Venezuelan intelligence agents for around an hour Sunday, but President Nicolas Maduro's government denied any knowledge of the operation.

"We have learned that there was a situation in which a group of officials acting in a unilateral manner conducted an irregular procedure," said Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez.

He added that officers from the SEBIN intelligence service "are being dismissed and subjected to a stricter disciplinary procedure" after having provoked a "media circus." Following his release, Juan Guaido was met by hundreds of cheering supporters at the political rally he had been heading to when he was intercepted on a highway by armed and hooded men in two Venezuelan intelligence service vehicles, according to his wife.

"So Maduro no longer controls the armed forces because the chain of command was broken," Guaido said.

"Who is commanding the regime now? If they're already admitting that they don't control the state's security agencies, there's a serious problem at Miraflores," he added, referring to the presidential palace.

Guaido had directly challenged the legitimacy of Maduro as the president was sworn in for a second term on Thursday, calling the next day for a transitional government ahead of new elections.

He was detained while traveling to the political meeting in Caraballeda, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital, Caracas.

"They forced us to get out. They did not hit him (Guaido), but they told us they had to proceed with his immediate arrest," his wife Fabiana Rosales said in a telephone call made public by a member of the assembly, Larissa Gonzalez.

After Guaido's release, Rosales in a Twitter post thanked "everyone that reacted immediately with support against the dictatorship's abuses against my husband." "The dictatorship cannot break his fighting spirit," she added.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the "arbitrary" detention.

"We call on security forces to uphold the constitution and rights of the Venezuelan people. The U.S. and world are watching," he wrote on Twitter.

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