MORGAN ORTAGUS, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON
FEBRUARY 15, 2020
The United States strongly condemns the detention of Juan Jose Marquez, uncle of interim President Juan Guaido, and demands his immediate release. The preposterous charges that have been put forward further exemplify the increasing desperation of Maduro and his corrupt associates. Manufacturing evidence to justify arbitrary, politically-motivated detentions is a common tool of the illegitimate former Maduro regime. We have seen it used against Roberto Marrero, Juan Requesens, Gilber Caro, and Ismael Leon, who make up a small portion of the over 350 political prisoners in Venezuela today. Such deplorable acts only delay a resolution to the tragic crisis in Venezuela that Maduro and his collaborators insist on perpetuating.
Diosdado Cabello, head of the illegitimate Constitutional Assembly, claims Marquez had smuggled explosive material aboard the direct international flight from Portugal, after having gone through Lisbon airport’s strict security screening and protocols. The airline, TAP Air Portugal, affirmed publicly that it “is impossible to travel with explosives”.
These despicable actions by the former Maduro regime – detaining innocent civilians and inventing false charges – are sadly typical. Rather than abide by the rule of law, Maduro and his cronies follow mafia-style practices, intimidating the opposition by targeting their family members.
In 2019, there were 2,219 arbitrary arrests reported in Venezuela, and more than 15,000 were reported from 2014 to 2019. The United States condemns the thousands of killings, attacks, and arbitrary detentions that have taken place in Venezuela. We stand with the victims’ families in demanding justice and accountability.
We will hold Nicolas Maduro and those who surround him fully responsible for the safety and welfare of interim President Guaido’s family and all those who defend democracy in Venezuela.