Venezuela Supreme Court judge flees to U.S. to protest Maduro

Leroy Wright
January 9, 2019

"The National Assembly should inspire hope in the Venezuelan people for a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future, even as the corrupt and authoritarian Maduro regime and its allies seek to deny Venezuelans that right", the State Department said in a statement.

"We are in the presence of an autocracy that has condemned to death any opposition to this particular vision of power", Zerpa told Miami-based broadcaster EVTV.

In the interview, Zerpa described the Supreme Court as an "appendage of the executive branch" and said that justices, were at times, summoned to the presidential palace to receive instructions on how to rule on certain sensitive cases, such as those relevant to electoral or constitutional issues.

The illegitimate nature of Maduro's win has also recently been called out by a Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice who has this year fled to the United States.

The May election called by the Constituent Assembly was boycotted by most of the main opposition groups, many of whose figures have been jailed or driven into exile.

Calling on Maduro not to take office and suggesting that it's the only way to restore effective democracy within Venezuela, the Lima Group has also threatened to restrict Venezuelan officials from entering their countries.

Under Maduro, who succeeded President Hugo Chávez in 2013, the once thriving country has seen hyperinflation, shortages of food and medicine, and waves of fleeing citizens rushing the border out of desperation.

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Zerpa said he is willing to cooperate with USA authorities and offer his testimony on what he knows, including information about the "conduct of some leaders".

Maduro also severely criticized the National Assembly members" support to hand over Venezuelan territorial sea sovereignty by recognizing the alliance's declaration on the projection of the Orinoco Delta as the "exclusive economic zone of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

Zerpa is among the top Venezuelan officials who have been sanctioned by Canada, but he has not been targeted by USA authorities, who accuse dozens in Maduro's administration of using their power for personal gain.

Maduro is expected to start another term as president on January 10 that would keep him in power until 2025, despite the fact that the election he won in May past year was widely dismissed as illegitimate.

He said the measure would take effect immediately. Zerpa himself authored a crucial 2016 ruling that allowed the Maduro regime to strip the country's congress of most of its powers after the socialists lost parliamentary elections. "Venezuelans have the opportunity to enjoy 2019 as a year of prosperity and progress".

The head of state of the crisis-ridden oil-producing country was confirmed in office in controversial elections in May 2018. "It's not fair that a whole country should perish to satisfy one man's lust for power".

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