Venezuela Opposition Plans Incentives for Officers
CARACAS (Reuters) Venezuela’s opposition-led congress is considering offering legal incentives to military officers who disavow President Nicolas Maduro and help lead a transition to a new government, according to four legislators and a draft document seen by Reuters.
Maduro was sworn in on Thursday for a second term following a disputed 2018 election, triggering a hailstorm of international criticism that his leadership of the country suffering a hyperinflationary collapse is illegitimate.
The proposal, which comes in part at the request of highranking officers on active duty, seeks to ensure that defectors from the armed forces would not be persecuted by a future government if they abandon Maduro, according to the legislators, who asked not to be identified.
It would apply to officers who “do not obey the orders of the man who has usurped the Presidency of the Republic ... and collaborate with the tradition and re-establishment of constitutional order,” the draft says.
The plan shows the opposition increasingly focussed on the military as crucial in removing the ruling Socialist Party from power. But the law will almost certainly be thrown out by the pro-Maduro Supreme Court, meaning its legal impact would remain symbolic as long as Maduro is in office.
Opposition leaders have faced significant hurdles in recruiting military dissidents due to Maduro’s continued sway over the armed forces and a crackdown on accused insurgents that human rights groups have said includes torture of officers and abuse of their families.
Plans to offer incentives to officers as a way of hastening Maduro’s departure has not been previously reported.
Opposition leaders have publicly discussed creating a transition plan, as well as amnesty for military officers who are already in jail on accusations of conspiring against Maduro many of whom the opposition considers political prisoners.
Congress plans to vote on the 17-page draft document entitled “Law Governing the Transition to Democracy” in the coming weeks, the legislators said.