null: nullpx
Latin America

Venezuela's ousted Attorney General flees to Colombia

Luisa Ortega Díaz escaped by boat to Aruba and from there by plane to Bogota, Univision News has confirmed.
18 Ago 2017 – 06:15 PM EDT
Luisa Ortega Crédito: AP

Luisa Ortega Díaz arrived Friday afternoon in Bogota on a private plane from the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba and has requested the protection of Colombian authorities, sources told Univision News.

The Venezuelan prosecutor was unceremoniously fired by the National Constituent Assembly of President Nicolás Maduro on August 5. Ortega left Venezuela's Paraguaná peninsula at dawn Friday on a speedboat to Aruba. From there she flew to Colombia, accompanied by her husband, the legislator Germán Ferrer, as well as her chief of staff, Gioconda González Sánchez, and Arturo Vilar Estevez.

Her escape came two days after Venezuela's Supreme Court ordered the arrest of her husband for alleged extortion and the couple's Caracas home was raided by police.

Ortega told the region's other prosecutors that Maduro removed her to stop a probe linking him and his inner circle to nearly $100 million in bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, AP reported.

Ortega addressed a gathering of Latin America's prosecutor's in Puebla, Mexico via internet. She says several prosecutors have fled Venezuela fearing for their lives.

Odebrecht officials had admitted to paying almost $100 million in bribes to Venezuelan officials in exchange for contracts.

For years after her appointment as Attorney general in Dec 2007, Ortega was a firm ally the ruling socialist party. She became a dissident in March after denouncing a Supreme Court ruling that usurped the functions of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The Constituent Assembly voted to replace Ortega with Tarek William Saab, who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration for failing to protect protesters from abuses in his role as the nation's top human rights official.

The Constitutional Assembly was seated Aug 4 despite strong criticism from the United States, other countries and the Venezuelan opposition, which fear the it will be a tool for imposing dictatorship.

Video: This is how the prosecutor general of Venezuela Luisa Ortega Univision had to flee on a motorcycle