Back in May I had a bad feeling that things might not wind up going well for Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega. She had been rejecting some of Nicolas Maduro’s initiatives as he sought to take total control of the country and silence his opposition. Sure enough, when the purge began and the legislature was essentially disbanded, she was fired from her job. Shortly thereafter, she had to flee the country fearing for her life.
Now she’s shown up in Costa Rica where she’s meeting with representatives of their government and the Inter-American Commission on Human rights. Things haven’t improved all that much for her and her family to date and she informed officials in that nation that Maduro had hired contract killers to track her down and murder her.
Venezuela’s former attorney general, Luisa Ortega, accused the government Monday of hiring contract killers to go after her and other justice officials denouncing alleged abuses committed under President Nicolas Maduro.
“I have come specifically to lodge a complaint before the Costa Rican justice ministry and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” she told a news conference in Costa Rica’s capital of San Jose alongside that country’s chief prosecutor, Jorge Chavarria.
“I have information that the persecution is continuing against me and that the government has contracted hitmen to end my life.”
A charge such as that is hard to document of course, but keep in mind that we’re talking about Nicolas Maduro here. Does anyone really doubt for a moment that he would have his upstart Attorney General and her family murdered for having challenged his authority and embarrassed his regime? Based solely on the history of the witnesses involved I’d say the scales tip significantly in Ortega’s direction in terms of credibility.
Of course, Ortega is one of the lucky ones. She had the resources and connections to make good her escape before she wound up being chained in one of Maduro’s dungeons. Not so for literally millions of others who are stuck in that country with little or nothing to eat, no access to medicine or critical care and forced to dodge roaming bands of Maduro’s militias if they venture outside. The official death toll among the protesters stands at 130 with more than 2000 injured, but there’s no way to know the real numbers given how many people have simply disappeared.
But this new wrinkle in the story is even more distressing. Maduro is a dangerous madman and once you’ve come to his attention you may not even be safe if you make it out of the country. Hired contract killers working for his government should be shocking, but the more we’ve learned about Chavez’s successor, this just looks like business as usual.