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The Supreme Court in Venezuela has sacked Mario Enrique Villarroel, who served as the president of the country's Red Cross for 45 years.

Villarroel's dismissal on Aug. 4 came after he was accused of "harassment and ill-treatment." Currently, the state prosecutors are investigating the allegations, the BBC reported.

Following his removal and the sacking of members of the charity's board of directors, Venezuela's Red Cross offered its "absolute and unrestricted support" for Villarroel.

In the interim, the Supreme Court ordered a "broad and diverse restructure" of the country's Red Cross, and its activities would remain unharmed. As part of the organization's restructuring, Ricardo Cusanno was appointed to chair the board.

Cusanno, the former president of Fedecamaras, Venezuela's largest business association, tweeted about taking up the task of "collaborating as a Venezuelan and a volunteer in starting a process of restoration of the institutionality of the National Society of the Venezuelan Red Cross."

He shared that he has requested the accompaniment of "different organizations and sectors of civil society, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross to guarantee a transparent process and adhere to the humanitarian principles of the institution."

He noted that an independent and honest board would be formed, and its first objective would be to protect the integrity of the volunteers and workers of the Venezuelan Red Cross. They will initiate a "process of evaluation, restructuring and modernization of the institution that culminates in a transparent election of its authorities."

Human rights monitors called the move "endangering" humanitarian work in Venezuela.

Rafael Uzcategui of human rights NGO Provea told AFP that the Venezuelan Red Cross is a non-profit civil association, "not a dependency of the government." He pointed out that the court's decision sets a "dangerous precedent for the Venezuelan people's right to freedom of association."

He called the Supreme Court's decision an "absolutely irregular procedure," regardless of "the innocence or guilt of Mr Villarroel."

Uzcategui said that the court's move comes before the 2024 presidential election in Venezuela. It also comes at a time when there is intense jockeying for the release of around $3 billion in frozen assets abroad after the country was hit by sanctions. The Venezuelan government led by Nicolas Maduro and the opposition had agreed that this amount would be kept for social or humanitarian funds once it was freed up.

Uzcategui said that the United Nations proposed to "receive these $3 billion and this generated an internal conflict... Another supposedly independent entity, the Red Cross, is going to be promoted to receive this money and manage it at an electoral moment and, of course, in coordination with the authorities." He finds everything "very suspicious."

Mauro Zambrano of the NGO Monitor Salud (Monitor Health) said if there is a problem with Villarroel, it must be "resolved by the Red Cross itself." He noted that many humanitarian programs are managed by the Red Cross in Venezuela and that "political issue, unfortunately, often prevails over health."

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