Javier Tarazona is expected to appear in a Venezuelan court today to answer for charges of treason against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Tarazona, the leader of rights group Fundaredes, was arrested in July 2021 on charges of terrorism after reporting violent clashes between Colombian and Venezuelan militaries on the Venezuelan side of the border. He also alleged that Maduro’s government gives refuge to drug traffickers and Colombian leftist paramilitaries. Tarazona alleges that when he was arrested, he was not read his rights or informed of the charges against him. He also claims that he was tortured by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service during his detention.
Since the 2019 Venezuelan constitutional crisis, Maduro has sought to target rights activists with international connections, claiming foreign interference. Enforced by the newly created branch called the Directorate of Strategic and Tactical Actions.
Tarazona’s trial is another case of a kangaroo court within Venezuela’s legal system, should he be convicted expect minor protests in Caracas. Since 2021 it has been a rare sight, however with the added scope on Venezuela from the Essequibo dispute, activists may take this chance to publicly shame Maduro. In the medium to long-term, expect more protest and activism in the lead up to the 2024 Venezuelan election, naturally meaning an accelerated rate of arbitrary arrests and trials.