CARACAS – The Venezuelan Truth Commission, created by the all-powerful and government-supporting Constituent National Assembly (ANC), announced Saturday that it recommended that more than 80 people arrested in violent protests around the country be released.
“We have given a recommendation to benefit more than 80 people ... made with the knowledge of different entities of the criminal justice system as well as the report that was sent to the president,” ANC chief Delcy Rodriguez told reporters, referring to President Nicolas Maduro.
Rodriguez also heads the so-called Truth Commission.
She said that it is expected that the measure will be implemented “in the coming hours” adding that there will be people who benefit from the move but who will be subjected to “alternative forms of justice.”
She said that authorities are considering “community work for the people who have already been convicted,” a move that would provide “compensation mainly for the victim, whether that be a person or society in general.”
The reparations to the victim(s) constitutes an “acknowledgement to the victim that the country knows the precise truth of the deeds with political ends that occurred in the years 2014 and 2017,” Rodriguez said.
On Saturday afternoon, Rodriguez met with a group of prisoners jailed for crimes related to the anti-government protests in recent years, including former opposition Mayor Alfredo Ramos of Iribarren, and assured them that they would spend Christmas with their families.
In 2014 and in mid-2017 Venezuela experienced waves of anti-government protests that left more than 150 people dead, mostly anti-government demonstrators, hundreds of people under arrest and millions of dollars in economic losses and material damage.
One of those arrested over the 2014 protests was opposition Popular Will leader Leopoldo Lopez, who in 2015 was sentenced to almost 14 years behind bars for being responsible for the riots in which three people died following an anti-government march.
Lopez was released from prison several months ago to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.
Meanwhile, former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, one of the mediators of the dialogue in Venezuela, said Sunday that the ANC’s proposal to free more than 80 political prisoners “strengthens” the options for an agreement concerning “democratic coexistence” in the country.
“This important step strengthens expectations of an agreement concerning democratic coexistence and peace for Venezuela,” Zapatero said.