Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will visit China
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro AFP

Human rights activist Rocío San Miguel has been detained in Venezuela, after authorities claimed she was involved in a plot to kill president Nicolás Maduro and other high ranking officials.

The apprehension was confirmed by prosecutor general Tarek William Saab, who added that the alleged conspiracy, dubbed "white bracelet," was also aimed at attacking military units across the country.

"Said investigations are still ongoing and gathering evidence related to people involved in these grave events in and outside the country," Saab added.

The news catalyzed a swift backlash among the country's opposition and other human rights activists, who claimed that San Miguel was being detained for political purposes.

"Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Rocío San Miguel, human rights activist detained at Venezuela's Maiquetía airport. Amnesty International is monitoring the forceful disappearance accusation and joins the calls for her rights to be respected, as well as the protection injunction issued by the IAHCR and access to her family members and lawyers," said the organization in an X post.

Some 260 people who are under arrest in Venezuela can be considered political prisoners, according to NGO Foro Penal. Before San Miguel, three aides of opposition leader María Corina Machado were arrested in late January, also accused of plotting to kill Maduro.

Machado, who won an opposition primary in 2023, is seeking to face Maduro in this year's elections, but has been banned by government-friendly Supreme Court, which has upheld accusations of fraud and tax violations as well as supporting the economic sanctions the U.S. imposed on Venezuela over the last decade.

She has accused Maduro of taking political prisoners and tightening his grip on power during the past months to avoid competing in what could be a contested election.

Maduro expressly said last week that his party will win the elections "one way or the other." "When they do it, how they do it, the people are organized and will win," said Maduro during a political rally to commemorate a failed military coup led by former president Hugo Chávez, who would then go on to win the presidency seven years later and designate Maduro as his successor.

In this context, the United States has threatened to to put back sanctions on Venezuela for potentially breaking the Barbados Agreement, an internationally-backed treaty that sought to ensure free and fair elections in Venezuela in exchange for the easing of these punitive measures. Venezuela, in turn has warned it will stop deportation flights from the U.S. as retaliation.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.