WASHINGTON – Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary-General Luis Almagro said on Wednesday that Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz told him Wednesday that “authorities from (President) Nicolas Maduro’s regime” had made “permanent threats” against her office and “personal threats” against her.
Almagro discussed his telephone conversation with the Venezuelan AG in a series of Twitter posts.
Ortega Diaz ordered an investigation on Tuesday of human rights violations committed by the Maduro administration during the constitutional assembly election over the weekend.
“We repudiate attacks on the Attorney General’s Office and on Ortega Diaz. The international community must take measures, denounce and halt potential attacks,” said Almagro, who does not “recognize” the assembly elected Sunday to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution.
Maduro vowed after the election that the assembly would take control of the AG’s office, which has been highly critical of his administration in recent months.
Almagro also ripped the Maduro administration after Smartmatic, the electronic voting company in charge of the count, revealed Wednesday that the voter turnout figures for the controversial government-backed election were manipulated.
Venezuelan authorities had put the election turnout at around 8.1 million, but Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica challenged the numbers in a press conference in London.
“We know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated,” Murgica said, adding that the company estimates that the figures were tweaked by at least 1 million votes and that an inquiry would provide exact details.
The OAS secretary-general called the results fraudulent.
“This confirms the largest electoral fraud in the history of Latin America in percentage and millions of voters,” Almagro said in a Twitter post.
The opposition-controlled National Assembly said it would ask the AG’s office to investigate the allegations made by Smartmatic about manipulation of the election results.
“Not only was there fraud, it’s a crime that starts right at the very top of the elections agency,” National Assembly speaker Julio Borges said.
Luis Emilio Rondon, the only one of the five national elections agency members who is a government critic, said an investigation of Smartmatic’s allegations must be conducted.
“The elections agency is obligated to conduct audits to clear up this situation quickly,” Rondon said in a Twitter post.
Maduro, for his part, said he planned to swear in the assembly on Wednesday, with the ceremony in Caracas coming after some of the body’s more than 500 members already took the oath of office in other parts of the country.
First lady Cilia Flores confirmed that the assembly would begin its work on Thursday.
“A beautiful dawn has arrived with a National Constituent Assembly and tomorrow, with Hugo Chavez Frias, with Simon Bolivar, with their portraits that were taken out of the Federal Legislative Palace, we will be with the people once again and say that here are Chavez’s people, the people who do not surrender, the people who rebelled,” Flores said.
Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, meanwhile, said that Zuleima del Valle Gonzalez, one of the 33 judges selected by the National Assembly to sit on the Supreme Court, is staying in the residence of his country’s ambassador to Venezuela.
“Today, attorney Zuleima del Valle Gonzalez entered the embassy in Caracas and she is under the protection of Chile,” Muñoz said in a Twitter post.