Venezuela targets opposition figures with Interpol warrants

Venezuela issued a "red alert" to Interpol Monday asking it to arrest three members of the new leadership of a parallel, opposition legislature.

Late Saturday, arrest warrants were issued for Dinorah Figuera, who replaced opposition leader Juan Guaido as president of the now symbolic National Assembly, and its first and second vice presidents, Marianela Fernandez and Auristela Vasquez, top prosecutor Tarek William Saab said.

"We have requested an international red alert," Saab told a briefing in which he slammed them as criminals.

The three were named after an internal conflict in the opposition that led to Guaido's removal as leader of the foreign-backed parallel congress. The three new leaders live in exile, Figuera in Spain. One of Guaido's biggest backers had been the US.

"Let's see what Spain and the United States do in this case in relation to this request that the Public Ministry has made," Saab added.

Figuera, in a videoconference, dismissed the arrest warrant against her, stressing that she has political asylum in Spain. "If the dictatorship intends to take action against the leadership, in principle, it will not be able to."

Guaido was recognized as Venezuela's legitimate head of state by some 50 governments including that of the United States after elections in 2018 won by President Nicolas Maduro but widely dismissed as fraudulent.

Guaido was at the time the speaker of an opposition-controlled National Assembly, elected in 2015. It was replaced by a chamber controlled by Maduro's party after legislative elections in 2020 that were boycotted by the opposition.

Guaido once enjoyed popularity bordering on that of a rock star both at home and abroad but support for him dwindled over the years as his drive to replace Maduro failed.

Last week that opposition legislature voted to dissolve Guaido's "interim" presidency and government, saying in a statement these were "no longer useful" and "of no interest to citizens."