Venezuela pardons over 100 opposition leaders

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has pardoned over 100 opposition politicians, signalling an effort by his Socialist Party to boost participation in the upcoming December election -- an election that has already drawn accusations by critics of vote rigging.

Maduro’s chief prosecutor says the move is to promote political debate. The opposition has been threatening to boycott the election.

Opposition chief of staff Roberto Marrero was one of the most high profile to be cleared.

“The ones who brought me here did not ask for permission to bring me here. They just took me out. And to those who say that a prisoner cannot accept such a measure, I don't wish this on for them, for them to understand what it is like to be imprisoned. I don't wish this on anybody, least of all being a political prisoner, because it is worse. Prison is the worst thing that can happen to a human."

Many of those pardoned had played parts in the failed 2019 rebellion against the government and had either been imprisoned or living in exile.

Opposition leaders say Maduro's 2018 re-election was fraudulent, and have recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president.

More than 50 other countries, including the United States have since followed suit.

On Sunday (August 29) Guaido urged the opposition to come together in order to tackle Maduro amid contrasting strategies within the coalition.

Video Transcript

[CHEERING]

- Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro has pardoned over 100 opposition politicians, signaling an effort by his socialist party to boost participation in the upcoming December parliamentary election, an election that's already drawn accusations by critics of vote rigging. Maduro's chief prosecutor says the move is to promote political debate. The opposition has already been threatening to boycott the election.

Opposition chief of staff Roberto Marrero was one of the most high profile to be cleared.

ROBERTO MARRERO: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

INTERPRETER: The ones who brought me here did not ask for permission to bring me here. They just took me out. And to those who say that a prisoner cannot accept such a measure, I don't wish this on them, for them to understand what it is like to be imprisoned.

I don't wish this on anybody, least of all being a political prisoner, because it is worse. Prison is the worst thing that can happen to a human.

- Many of those pardoned had played parts in the failed 2019 rebellion against the government and had either been imprisoned or living in exile. Opposition leaders say Maduro's 2018 reelection was fraudulent and have recognized Juan Guaido as a legitimate president. More than 50 other countries, including the United States, have since followed suit. On Sunday Guaido urged the opposition to come together in order to tackle Maduro amid contrasting strategies within the coalition.