Six opposition activists seek protection from arrest at the Argentine embassy in Caracas. Argentina grants asylum and negotiates his departure.

Protesters with a sign showing the face of María Corina Machado

Protest by opposition leader María Corina Machado, here on April 6 in Santiago Photo: Vanessa Rubilar/Reuters

BUENOS AIRES taz | It is a tug of war between Argentina and Venezuela. Since the end of March, six people have been taking refuge in the Argentine embassy in Caracas. The two women and four men are employees of conservative opposition leader María Corina Machado. They are wanted by the Venezuelan prosecutor's office with an arrest warrant accused of trying to destabilize the country. One of the six who fled to the embassy is Magalli Meda, former campaign manager of María Corina Machado.

The arrest warrants against a total of eight people were issued on March 20, one day before the start of the candidate registration period for the July 28 presidential election. The eight are accused of participating in violent conspiracies against the government, said Attorney General Tarek William Saab. Two of them have already been arrested. The others now seek protection at the embassy.

The regime of head of state Nicolás Maduro is using “brutal repression” against his campaign team, María Corina Machado wrote in X. “These cowardly actions aim to block Venezuela's path to change and freedom in peace and democracy ”. him as the clear winner of the opposition primaries for the presidential election, but was later excluded from the elections by the judiciary over questionable accusations.

On March 26, the government of Buenos Aires officially confirmed the stay of the six people in its embassy in Caracas. They were included due to Argentine President Javier Milei's “concern” about “the deterioration of the institutional situation and the harassment and persecution of political figures in Venezuela,” he said.

Safe exit negotiations

All six are recognized as refugees in Argentina and negotiations are underway for a safe exit. Argentine Foreign Minister Diana Mondino maintains a low profile: “We are working on it. It’s not that easy,” she states.

Good relations between Argentina and Venezuela during the terms of Peronist presidents Néstor Kirchner, Cristina Fernández and Alberto Fernández have deteriorated dramatically since Javier Mileis took office in December. Milei and Maduro have clashed verbally on several occasions.