Cuban-Venezuelan actress Maria Conchita Alonso has been at the forefront of the public opposition to the repressive socialist policies of President Nicolás Maduro. Now, the actress–also a Tea Party ally and vocal critic of Sean Penn and Oliver Stone–may lose her Venezuelan citizenship over her political beliefs.
Venezuela’s largest newspaper El Universal reports that state media announced that the nation’s Ministry of the Interior and Justice had begun the process of stripping Alonso, who is also a United States citizen, of her Venezuelan citizenship. Ethnically Cuban, Alonso left Cuba with her family when she was three-years-old and was naturalized as a Venezuelan citizen.
The government of Venezuela has labeled the actress a traitor for denouncing the socialist policies of the government, as well as supporting a full military invasion of Venezuela by the United States. At the time, President Maduro addressed her comments directly on television, dismissing them as drug-fueled. “Who knows what substances she was on when she said that?” the President declared, apparently referring to Miami’s decades-old reputation for attracting the drug trade.
As El Nuevo Herald notes here, however, there is nothing in the Venezuelan constitution that supports stripping someone of her citizenship for incendiary remarks. “It would have been different if she had been organizing an invasion [herself],” explains Patricia Andrade, president of the NGO Venezuela Awareness. “But what Venezuela is criminalizing is the opinion of a foreign nation, and is doing so in an illegal way, taking away nationality.”
In an interview with CNN en Español, Alonso herself has expressed disappointment with the move, calling it “nasty and sad.” Speaking to Univisión, she added, “With all the problems that people are living with in the country, that they occupy themselves with something like this, which is in reality vain–and it hurts in the end–it makes you ask where these people put their priorities.”
The actress told Univisión she is willing to fight for her citizenship. “It is not that easy to take away someone’s citizenship, unless they are a terrorist, which I am not. … When the moment arrives where they take it from me, which will arrive, then I will take legal measures,” she declared.
This is far from Alonso’s first political controversy. The actress has vocally attacked actor Sean Penn for his friendship with the late Hugo Chávez, and has led a protest against Oliver Stone for his propaganda film South of the Border. In January, Alonso lost a role in a Los Angeles production of The Vagina Monologues after filming a political ad in favor of a Tea Party candidate.