Venezuela opposition deputy Caro arrested

AFP , Friday 26 Apr 2019

Venezuelan opposition lawmaker Gilber Caro has been arrested by intelligence agents "violating his parliamentary immunity," the opposition-controlled legislature said on Friday.

Caro was previously detained in January 2017, accused of plotting an armed revolt against President Nicolas Maduro, before he was released in June last year.

"The dictatorship has again arbitrarily detained the deputy @gilbercaro violating his parliamentary immunity," said the National Assembly, the only branch of Venezuela's government not controlled by Maduro, on its Twitter account.

It said it was "holding the usurper regime responsible for his life and integrity."

Caro was arrested in a restaurant in the Las Mercedes neighborhood of the capital Caracas, fellow deputy Adriana Pichardo said in a news conference.

"We have no idea what this arrest is for, we think it could be another set-up, an attempt to implicate him in another macabre plot."

Caro is from the same party as opposition leader Juan Guaido, the National Assembly speaker who launched a challenge to Maduro's authority in January by declaring himself acting president, a move backed by more than 50 countries including the United States.

Caro was one of four people -- alongside two opposition councilors and a retired general -- arrested over two years ago for what the government then termed "a terrorist plan of destabilization."

Those arrests came just days after parliament had passed a motion declaring that Maduro had effectively "abandoned his post" by failing to tackle the country's economic crisis.

Although held for 17 months, Caro was never convicted of any charge.

In October, a Venezuelan military judge who was seeking asylum in Colombia apologized to Caro for having ordered his detention.

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