CARACAS – Edgar Zambrano, the deputy speaker of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament who was released on Tuesday after spending more than 130 days in prison, called on all sectors of the country to make a push to release all political prisoners.
“A significant effort must be made, first of all, to release all political, civil and military prisoners,” Zambrano told journalists outside his residence in Caracas shortly after walking out of jail.
He said that about 58 inmates were set to be freed starting on the following morning and stressed that “all prisoners need to be released.”
On Tuesday, the court in charge of Zambrano’s case ruled to grant him freedom with precautionary measures following a request by the “Truth Commission,” a body created by Nicolas Maduro’s regime and endorsed by the pro-regime National Constituent Assembly (a parallel legislature made up of Chavista sympathizers).
As per the terms of his release, Zambrano was ordered to appear before the court every 30 days and was barred from leaving Venezuela.
Zambrano, along with nine other opposition lawmakers, has been accused of participating in the failed April 30 coup attempt led by the speaker of the national assembly, Juan Guaido, who is recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by more than 50 nations.
Zambrano is the first so-called “political prisoner” released following a recent deal struck between the Maduro regime and a minority opposition group.
He said the Venezuelan constitution had been “absent” during the 135 days he spent behind bars and described his imprisonment as “unjust.”
Zambrano said he was jailed in the same prison as former generals Miguel Rodriguez Torres and Raul Baduel, where they were living “practically in captivity, like animals.”
On Monday, Maduro’s regime and a group of minority parties from the Venezuelan opposition reached a pact through which the Chavistas agreed to return to the national assembly, as well as the restoration of electoral rights and the release of political prisoners.
Regarding this recently-established negotiating table between the regime and this segment of the opposition, Zambrano said that politics “has its mechanisms of re-composition” and “the right thing is that politics should work; good politics, real politics.”
He said that over the next few days, he would meet with representatives of the opposition sector that signed the agreement with Maduro and would also rejoin the national assembly.
Zambrano concluded with a call for the political crisis to be resolved through democratic mechanisms, adding that the conditions for people to freely participate in fair elections needed to be created first.