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Venezuela accuses 4 more lawmakers of treason

Venezuela’s Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno delivers a statement at the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) in the capital, Caracas, on May 8, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Venezuela’s top court has accused four opposition lawmakers of treason for supporting a coup attempt against the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month.

The Supreme Court accused lawmakers Carlos Paparoni, Miguel Pizarro, Franco Casella, and Winston Flores of treason and inciting rebellion on Tuesday.

The court announced the accusations in a Facebook post one week after it brought similar accusations against ten other lawmakers over their involvement in the coup attempt on April 30.

Early on the day of the coup bid, a small group of Venezuelan armed troops accompanying renegade figure Juan Guaido clashed with soldiers at an anti-government rally in the capital, Caracas. Gunfire was heard, and more than 100 people were reported wounded. But the putsch bid quickly petered out.

Security forces prevented the four lawmakers from entering the legislature for the Tuesday session.

The vice-president of the opposition parliament and a deputy to Guaido, Edgar Zambrano, was arrested earlier month and transferred to the headquarters of the military police Fort Tiuna in Caracas.

Later, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said it had received opposition lawmaker Franco Manuel Casella Lovaton in its embassy in Caracas “to provide protection and shelter.”

The ministry, however, said that it would continue to follow a policy of non-intervention in Venezuela.

“The government reaffirms its position of non-intervention, its openness to dialog and its firm commitment to collaborate in finding a democratic, peaceful, and collaborative solution to the situation that Venezuela faces,” it said in a statement.

Guaido has proclaimed himself the “interim president” of Venezuela and has attempted unsuccessfully to incite government officials and military personnel to defect.

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