Saturday at dawn, soldiers took up positions outside the office of Venezuelan prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz. Diaz is a former Hugo Chavez loyalist who has gradually turned against the anti-Democratic Maduro regime, denouncing Maduro’s plans to rewrite the country’s constitution. She posted images of soldiers stationed outside her office, calling it a “siege.”
— Luisa Ortega Díaz (@lortegadiaz) August 5, 2017
A short time later, she was officially removed from office. From the Washington Post:
Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, a vocal critic of the president, has been removed from office in a crackdown on dissent. A new governing body of President Nicolás Maduro, stripped Luisa Ortega of her title and replaced her with a government loyalist.
Earlier the Post spoke with Diaz on the situation outside her office:
“I can inform you that my office has been taken by public security forces, including national guards and policemen, between 400 and 500” troops, she said. “We still don’t know how many of our employees are inside. They’re not permitting us to go in, or anyone to go out.”…
She added, “if they remove me, I’ll keep fighting for human rights and for democracy. I can’t permit my country to become a dictatorship. And yesterday’s installation of the Constituent Assembly was the birth of dictatorship in Venezuela.”
Diaz’s firing is a significant blow to the opposition which initially distrusted her but gradually rallied to her as she spoke out against the government’s violent reaction to protests. Earlier this week the government also rounded up two opposition leaders from their homes. From the Telegraph:
Venezuelan opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were taken from their homes by intelligence agents in the early hours of Tuesday morning, in the wake of the controversial assembly vote that Nicolas Maduro said would open “a new phase of combat” in the country’s revolution.
Videos distributed by the leaders’ families showed them being dragged out of their houses and bundled into cars belonging to the notorious intelligence unit Sebin. The opposition denounced the detentions as “kidnappings”, and said the whereabouts of the two men was currently unknown.
This is the inevitable end stage of socialist failure. Having run the nation into the ground over the last 16 years, there is now nothing left to protect the regime from the judgment it deserves under a genuine democracy, save one thing: raw power. In case it somehow wasn’t clear before it should be now. Democracy has been overthrown in Venezuela. This is a dictatorship.