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Venezuela’s Maduro pardons 110 opposition politicians

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has pardoned 110 opposition politicians and lawmakers amid efforts to promote national reconciliation, the government has announced.

The list of the 110 people who were granted amnesty via a presidential decree on Monday included Roberto Marrero, who had served as an assistant to opposition figure Juan Guaido, as well as legislator Freddy Guevara, who has sought asylum in the Chilean diplomatic residence.

According to Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez, the presidential decree took immediate effect. Some detainees were released just hours after the announcement.

Those pardoned included over 20 lawmakers who had been accused of conspiring against Maduro.

Reuters quoted Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab as saying that the pardons were meant to “promote political debate” and to “strengthen the right to human suffrage.”

“If they return to any act of terrorism, violence or coup-mongering, obviously this benefit will cease,” Saab said.

The decree came a day after Maduro declared his support for measures aimed at bringing about reconciliation and dialog in the Latin American country ahead of the December legislative elections.

Meanwhile, Guaido described the pardons as a “trap,” claiming that they aimed to “legitimize a farce,” an apparent reference to the upcoming elections.

Venezuela has been in political turmoil since Guaido abruptly declared himself “interim president” of the country late in January 2019. Backed by his foreign sponsors, he later launched an abortive coup.

Washington has since Guaido’s self-declaration been mounting economic pressure on Caracas and has repeatedly threatened to use military force to topple Maduro’s government.

Caracas has also reported several assassination attempts against Maduro amid the foreign-backed attempts to topple his government.

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