Venezuela's Maduro slams political "persecution" of leftist LatAm leaders

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-05 05:23:42|Editor: yan
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CARACAS, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday called for an end to the political "persecution" of progressive Latin American leaders, who have been beset by legal troubles after leaving office.

Maduro cited three cases, including former presidents Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador who was informed on Tuesday that Ecuadorian authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest.

"First Cristina. Then Lula. Now Rafael Correa. Stop the persecution of authentic leaders in our Americas," Maduro posted to Twitter.

"The Bolivarian Revolution sympathizes with the people of Ecuador and @MashiRafael," Maduro added, using Correa's Twitter handle.

Brazil's former President Lula, who planned to run in Brazil's presidential elections in October, is instead serving a 12-year-and-one-month jail sentence for corruption. Lula denies the accusation, claiming it was designed to derail his reelection run.

In May, Argentinean federal judge began legal proceedings against former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her two children for charges of money laundering and illicit association.

Fernandez de Kirchner denies all the charges and has repeatedly stated she is the subject of a "political persecution" by the current government.

On Tuesday, Ecuadorian judicial authorities ordered the preventive arrest of ex-president Rafael Correa, who is charged with taking part in an attempted kidnapping of a political rival five years ago.

Correa, who was in office from 2007 to 2017, has moved to Belgium with his family. He denied the charge, claiming it was a political vendetta against him.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez also expressed solidarity with Correa's plight, adding it was the result of "imperial criminalization of progressive, nationalist and leftist movements" in the region.