Maria Corina Machado, 56, who won Venezuela's opposition primary
Maria Corina Machado, 56, who won Venezuela's opposition primary, is barred from holding office for 15 years AFP

Venezuela authorities arrested opposition member Roberto Abdul on Wednesday, while warrants were out for several people involved in the campaign of presidential nominee Maria Corina Machado.

The arrests came after Attorney General Tarek William Saab accused the opposition members of treason, without providing any evidence.

The arrest warrants were out for former National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó and three campaign staffers named Henry Alviarez, Claudia Macero and Pedro Urruchurtu. The staffers had worked with presidential nominee Maria Corina Machado during the campaign.

The arrest of Abdul, a member of the commission that planned the primary election, following which Machado was elected as the opposition candidate for the 2024 elections, was confirmed by Alfredo Romero, the head of non-governmental organization Foro Penal, on X, formerly known as Twitter. Foro Penal is known for defending political prisoners.

A lawyer said on the same day that Machado's Vente Venezuela party staffers have never acted against the law. Even previously, Abdul has been questioned by the authorities regarding the elections, which the opposition clarified were fair and transparent.

Saab, who ordered arrest warrants for Alviarez, Macero and Urruchurtu among others, accused them of being involved in several crimes, including treason, conspiracy and money laundering.

According to the attorney general, these three staffers along with Abdul were involved in "destabilizing and conspiratorial actions," and added they used "financing from money laundering by international organizations and foreign companies like Exxon Mobil," according to Reuters.

Machado, who also held a press conference on the same day, said the government "believes that with this they will create fear, imbalance, demoralization or demobilization, and it's just the opposite."

Perkins Rocha, who served as the party's lawyer, said there was no official notification of the arrest warrants yet.

In October, the Venezuelan government slammed the primary election organized by the opposition, calling it a "scam." National Assembly President Jorge Rodriguez said the primary election was fraudulent because voters were not aware of the electoral registry and location of voting centers.

Machado received an overwhelming response during the elections, following the counting of votes. However, it is not sure if she will be able to stand against President Maduro in next year's elections due to legal issues.

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