Prominent critics pay a price for denouncing Venezuelan dictatorship

John Sexton Posted at 5:21 pm on August 21, 2017

Earlier this month the socialist government in Venezuela fired one of its most prominent critics. Luisa Ortega, the country’s chief prosecutor, gradually became disenchanted with the Maduro regime and has recently been calling for resistance to his plans to rewrite the country’s constitution. Last week, she fled the country and made her way to Colombia. From the Guardian:

Univision reported that Ms Ortega fled in a speedboat to Aruba, where she caught a private plane to Bogota…

She was accompanied by her husband, the legislator German Ferrer, the statement added. It was not clear whether the couple were seeking asylum in Colombia.

The 59-year-old told Reuters in an interview this month that she feared the government would “deprive me of my life.”

Today, Fox News reports that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Monday he will grant Ortega asylum if she requests it. Meanwhile, Venezuela is cracking down on another prominent critic. Conductor Gustavo Dudamel was scheduled to start a 4-city tour of the U.S. with a Venezuelan youth orchestra. Today he announced on Twitter the tour had been canceled by the government:

The NY times reports the cancellation is a result of Dudamel’s recent criticism of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro:

The cancellation was first reported by El Nacional, which reported that the decision came from the office of the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro. It came days after Mr. Maduro openly mocked Mr. Dudamel, who is arguably Venezuela’s most important cultural export — and who, as the product of the El Sistema music program, has been an international symbol of the power of the nation’s government-supported social programs.

“Welcome to politics, Gustavo Dudamel,” Mr. Maduro said in a televised appearance on Friday, according to The Associated Press. “But act with ethics, and don’t let yourself be deceived into attacking the architects of this beautiful movement of young boys and girls.”

That’s how things work in a dictatorship. If you say something against the dear leader or the glorious revolution, you pay for it with your freedom or, in some cases, with your life.

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