Luisa Ortega

Luisa Ortega

7 September 2017

Luisa Ortega was appointed to the post of chief prosecutor by the National Assembly in December 2007.  Influential politician Diosdado Cabello was behind this appointment.  For years she remained a staunch ally of President Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro.

In 2014, she charged the then opposition leader Leopoldo López with public incitement and conspiracy over his role in a wave of protests against the government at the time. Later he was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

In March 2017, she broke ranks with the ruling party and started criticising it openly saying that Supreme Court ruling stripping the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its powers was unlawful.

May 2017 saw at least 29 dead during a month of protests by the opposition. After this President Maduro called for a constituent assembly that would draft a new constitution that would replace the 1999 Venezuela Constitution of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez. This move will render the opposition controlled elected National Assembly redundant. According to President Maduro’s proposal National Constituent Assembly would be composed of 545 members – 364 of which would be chosen by municipal governments and 181 drawn from workers groups. What a ridiculous thing to do to replace an elected assembly with an assembly appointed by himself?

At the end of June, Venezuela’s Supreme Court paved the way for a possible trial of Ms Ortega on charges of “threatening public ethics and administrative morals” and of “violating and threatening the fundamental principles of the constitution”. The court also banned her from leaving the country and froze her assets.

Ortega fled Venezuela on Friday with her husband, German Ferrer, and at least one of her aides, by boat to Aruba and then on to Bogota by plane.

Colombian government said Luisa Ortega Diaz was under its protection, and offered asylum to her and her husband.

Ortega told reporters that she has evidence of Maduro loyalist Diosdado Cabello receiving $100 million from Odebrecht via a Spanish company called TSE Arietis, which was owned by cousins of Cabello. She also claimed that the Mexican company that the Venezuelan government has contracted to supply basic food items, was really owned by Maduro.