Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Venezuela asks Interpol to arrest opposition figure Julio Borges

Caracas requests arrest of politician accused of involvement in apparent attack against President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela has requested Interpol to arrest an opposition politician who is currently in neighbouring Colombia and accused of involvement in an apparent attack against President Nicolas Maduro.

"We are seeking code red for Mr Julio Borges," Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on Friday, referring to the former speaker of the National Assembly.

The request for an Interpol red notice - calling for police in another country to locate and provisionally arrest a suspect wanted in another - follows what Venezuelan officials said was a drone assassination attempt on Maduro.

A drone loaded with explosives on Saturday detonated near a military event where Maduro was giving a speech. The president escaped unharmed but seven people were wounded.

Authorities say they have detained 10 suspects whom they accuse of involvement with support from Colombia and from unidentified figures in the United States.

One of those detained is opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens, who was seized by intelligence officers at his home this week.

"The ex-deputy Requesens and Borges were directly involved in the planning and execution as accomplices and as the masterminds," Rodriguez charged. He called both men "cowards."

On Thursday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said his country had officially requested Colombia to extradite five people suspected for the involvement in the attack.

However, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said Bogota has not received yet Venezuela's request to extradite the suspected people.

"As of this morning, there was no formal request. I do not know whether it will be received today. But if we receive the request, we will analyse it," Holmes Trujillo said at a press conference on Friday. 

Stripped of immunity

Meanwhile, Venezuela's pro-Maduro Constituent Assembly revoked Borges and Requesens of their parliamentary immunity so they can be put on trial.

Borges and other government critics accuse Maduro of using the drone incident to step up repression and persecution of the opposition.

The European Union has called for a "comprehensive and transparent investigation" of the incident while rejecting violence in Venezuela.

It also demanded the National Assembly's powers be restored, including its right to decide the parliamentary immunity of its members.

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