Venezuela’s deposed prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz fled the country this weekend by speedboat, Colombia’s migration authorities have confirmed.
Ortega, a former loyalist of late socialist dictator Hugo Chávez, was fired by the socialist “national constituents assembly” (ANC), a fraudulent legislative body, after she began filing charges of human rights abuses against the government of dictator Nicolás Maduro.
In June, Ortega also charged the former head of the country’s national guard, Antonio Benavides, with “serious and systematic” human rights violations, which include the unnecessary use of firearms, the torturing of suspects, and conducting property raids without a warrant.
She also heavily criticized Maduro’s illegal creation of the ANC, created to usurp the power of the constitutional National Assembly and replace it with government loyalists, and unsuccessfully filed several petitions to have it blocked.
The ANC—run by loyalists to Maduro that include his wife and son—voted unanimously to fire Ortega from the role and replace her with a Maduro loyalist, while also banning her from public office for the rest of her life, freezing her assets, and preventing her from leaving the country.
Ortega’s replacement, human rights investigator Tarek William Saab, this week unveiled a series of corruption charges against Ortega and her husband, accusing them of running an “extortion gang” and funneling profits into an offshore account. He also blamed her for the deaths of protesters during the widespread anti-government demonstrations that have taken place since April.
“We’ve authorized two district attorneys to investigate these grave crimes and they are working on the case immediately,” Saab said during a news conference this week.
“I do not know what dark intentions and dark plans they may have, not only to deprive me of my freedom, but also deprive me of my life,” Ortega told Reuters from a safe house this month. “I’m being permanently persecuted. There’s always a car following me, stopping where I stop, people taking photos of me and the places I go.”
On Sunday, Colombia’s migration agency confirmed that Ortega had fled to Colombia.
“This afternoon the attorney general of Venezuela Luisa Ortega Díaz arrived from Aruba in a private plane to Bogota’s airport and completed the corresponding migration process,” the agency said in a statement:
Comunicado de prensa pic.twitter.com/Ae6UOE1idC
— Migración Colombia (@MigracionCol) August 19, 2017
Univisión reported that Ortega traveled with her husband, legislator German Ferrer, via speedboat to the nearby island of Aruba, where she then took a private flight to the Colombian capital of Bogotá.
Colombia is now viewed as a safe haven for Venezuelan refugees and those suffering from starvation amid Venezuela’s humanitarian and political crises, with thousands of people crossing the border into Colombia every day to buy food.
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