News / Americas

Venezuela's Parliament Launches Probe into Capriles

Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Apr. 18, 2013.
Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Apr. 18, 2013.
Reuters
Venezuela's government-controlled parliament on Wednesday set up an inquiry into violence over its disputed election that authorities blame on opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
    
Nine people died and dozens were injured after opposition protests against Nicolas Maduro's narrow April 14 presidential poll win turned violent around the South American nation.
    
The government asserted that the unrest was evidence the opposition was planning a coup. Capriles' camp has rejected that, saying officials have exaggerated the violence and have tried to use deaths from common crimes to bolster the toll discredit the opposition.
    
“The government is desperately sowing lies,” said Capriles, who called supporters onto the streets after the disputed election results, but has since urged only peaceful protests.
    
The National Assembly said on Twitter that a special committee would begin meeting on Monday to investigate the violence. “The commission will determine responsibility for violent actions directed by Capriles,” it said.
    
Government legislator Pedro Carreno, who will head the committee that does not include any opposition parliamentarians, called Capriles a “murderer” during Wednesday's announcement.
    
“Sooner rather than later, he will have to pay for those crimes,” Carreno said, describing the death of an 11-year-old girl as the result of “fascism.”
    
Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles face off against riot police as they demonstrated for a recount of the votes in Sunday's election, in Caracas, Apr. 15, 2013.Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles face off against riot police as they demonstrated for a recount of the votes in Sunday's election, in Caracas, Apr. 15, 2013.
x
Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles face off against riot police as they demonstrated for a recount of the votes in Sunday's election, in Caracas, Apr. 15, 2013.
Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles face off against riot police as they demonstrated for a recount of the votes in Sunday's election, in Caracas, Apr. 15, 2013.
Inside Venezuela, reports of the violence have varied, with state media painting an image of pro-opposition mobs burning government offices and health facilities. The opposition media quoted family members of victims saying that some of the deaths had nothing to do with the political tensions.
    
In a sustained assault against Capriles from numerous senior officials, National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello called him a “fascist murderer,” while Prisons Minister Iris Varela said a jail cell and rehabilitation therapies awaited him.
    
Capriles, a 40-year-old state governor who promises Brazilian-style pro-business policies mixed with strong social protections, confounded opinion polls to run a close finish against Maduro in the election to succeed late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
    
Despite an initial large gap in the polls, emotion around the death of Chavez who had endorsed him as successor as well as a powerful state apparatus behind his election campaign, Maduro won by less than two percentage points.
    
Capriles said the ballot was marred by thousands of irregularities, including intimidation of voters at poll centers, and demanded a recount.
    
The election board is carrying out a partial audit but has said that will not change the result.
    
Both Maduro and Capriles have called on supporters to march again on May 1 in another potential flashpoint for the OPEC nation of 29 million people.
    
“The government spokesmen don't understand that threatening Capriles, the leader of half the country, means threatening the trust of more than 7.5 million Venezuelans,” said opposition leader Antonio Ledezma. “They'll have to turn all the football and baseball stadiums into concentration camps because they'll have to jail millions of Venezuelans who are going to stand with Capriles.”
    
In 2004, Capriles was jailed for four months after being accused of stirring up violence during a protest at the Cuban embassy two years earlier. He denied the accusation, saying he was mediating there. The case was set aside.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Former El Salvador President to Await Graft Trial in Jail, Not at Home

Francisco Flores, who had been on the run until early Sept. before turning himself in, accused of misappropriating $15M in 2001 earthquake relief donations
More

US Won't Impede Venezuela's UN Security Council Bid

Washington is clearly unhappy, however, with idea of country joining the Council, which has the task of overseeing international peace and security
More

Video Dehydration Is Top Killer of Southern Arizona's Migrants

US Border Patrol's search and rescue unit launches 'blue blinking light of life program' - a series of poles strategically placed throughout desert that emit high-intensity blue light
More

US Steps Up Pressure on Guatemala Over Labor Rights

Trade representative says Obama administration will push ahead with legal action under free trade agreement to make country meet international standards
More

Video US Attempts Crackdown on Trafficking Along Southern Border

Nogales, Arizona, notoriously known as 'tunnel city,' used by traffickers to smuggle humans, narcotics into US and Border Patrol responds with new technologies
More

Video Arizona Non-Profit Helps Keep Dehydrated Migrants Alive

The Sonoran Desert, a common crossing point for illegal immigrants, is one of North America's hottest places
More