El Universal reports that María Corina Machado, former assemblywoman in Venezuela’s National Assembly and leader of the most conservative sector of the anti-government opposition, concluded a several-hour questioning at the attorney general’s office on Monday in connection with her alleged role in a plot to assassinate Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro and stage a subsequent coup. Corina Machado, who had been subpoenaed by the office along with six other prominent opposition voices earlier this month, said after the questioning had ended that the government had no evidence against her.
“I can’t give details, but there is no evidence to charge me with any crime,” she told El Nacional, a newspaper widely seen as being sympathetic to the opposition and whose editor has also been subpoenaed in connection with the alleged plot. The Popular Will party leader was stripped of her seat in April after accepting Panama’s offer to serve as an alternative representative before the Organization of American States, where she sought to give ambassadors her version of the government’s response to protests. In late May, several top lawmakers presented accusations against her based on emails she had allegedly sent to a US envoy to Colombia in which she called for the “financing to crush Maduro.” Corina Machado says the emails are fake.
During a press conference with journalists following the interrogation, the former lawmaker said that she was being harassed by a “dictatorship,” saying her phone and email had been infiltrated. “Even so, I still don’t have the most basic right, which is the right to defense. I was not allowed to enter [the questioning] with a lawyer and not allowed to see the record,” she said. “I spoke the truth with the consciousness of a person who has always acted under the Constitution, her values and the truth. This battle we are engaged in is moral and for the truth.”