VENEZUELA’S parliamentary speaker has condemned a US decision to reward an NGO which aided violent anti-government protests last year.
National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello used his weekly television programme to attack the US State Department for granting the Venezuelan Penal Forum (FP) recognition as a human rights group.
Mr Cabello said that, contrary to US claims that FP had defended “the rule of law and respect for human rights” during the violent “guarimba” demonstrations last year, the group was in fact linked to the opposition leaders behind the violence.
He said that FP had offered detained rioters free legal services, then charged them, on the grounds of the difficulty of their cases.
Mr Cabello pointed out that FP had not defended the rights of the many victims of the guarimbas.
Some 43 people were killed and over 800 injured as a result of the disturbances, including motorcyclists decapitated by piano wire strung across streets.
The National Assembly president came under attack in May when US prosecutors announced that they were investigating claims that he had been involved in a drug-trafficking ring.
On Thursday, electoral officials barred a third opposition politician from being a candidate in parliamentary elections at the end of this year.
Former mayor Enzo Scarano said that the comptroller’s office had prohibited him from holding public office for a year.
The order came two days after the comptroller issued the same ban for high-profile opposition leader Maria Corina Machado.
Earlier this month, former mayor Daniel Ceballo also was barred from office.