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Accused of corruption and human rights violations: who is the Chavista who could not enter Argentina

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Argentina prohibited the Chavista deputy from entering the country Maria Iris Varela Rangelformer Minister of Penitentiary Affairs of Nicolás Maduro and current Vice President of the National Assembly of Venezuela.

“Fosforito”, as Chávez nicknamed her, is one of the legislators closest to the Maduro regime and had entry prohibited because your name is on a list that the government of Mauricio Macri signed at the OAS at the end of 2019.

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The deputy had come from Brazil at dawn yesterday at Jorge Newbery Airport. When he presented the papers on him, they delayed her for four hours. According to information from Immigration, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that Varela Rangel was one of 29 people that are part of that list.

An army of prisoners, the attack on a truck with humanitarian aid and the “we are going to put Guaidó there”: the main accusations against Iris Varela

Varela took charge of the Venezuelan prisons in July 2011 and shortly after, Army General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera denounced that he had asked Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López to 30,000 rifles to arm “a private army that included trained prisoners,” with the argument that it was “to defend the revolution.”

Her role as Minister of Penitentiary Affairs was executed above judges and prosecutors. Over there he decided the freedom, the benefits and the transfers of thousands of prisoners. Today, from the National Assembly, he continues to pull the strings.

Accused of being corrupt and violating human rights: who is the Chavista who could not enter Argentina

In 2019, he led the attack on the trucks that wanted to enter Venezuela from Colombia to provide humanitarian aid. The Venezuelan forces together with the Chavista collective caused disturbances and even set one of the trucks on fire.

A year later, he threatened to imprison the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, in a talk with Freddy Bernal, the “protector” of Táchira. “Freddy, look: there we are going to put Guaidó”, Varela said while pointing to one of the buildings of the Western Penitentiary Center.

Then, he upped the ante: “And who else can we get? To Gaby Arellano over there”, answered Bernal in reference to the opposition deputy. Laughing, the official mentioned Guaidó’s foreign minister: “Julio Borges there”.

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From “phosphor” to Minister of Penitentiary Services: the political career of Iris Varela

Born in March 1967, Iris Varela started in politics at age 13, when he joined the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV). Years later she was nicknamed “phosphor” by Hugo Chávez, who appointed her national director and coordinator for the Táchira state of the Fifth Republic Movement, with which they won the 1998 presidential elections.

Iris Varela accompanied by armed men dressed as civilians and a group from the Bolivarian National Guard.  (Photo: EFE/Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda).
Iris Varela accompanied by armed men dressed as civilians and a group from the Bolivarian National Guard. (Photo: EFE/Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda).

Varela was elected three consecutive times as a deputy in the new National Assembly for the state of Táchira (from 2000 to 2016), but in 2011 she was appointed Minister of Popular Power for the Penitentiary Service.

Two years later, she was reaffirmed as Minister of Penitentiary Services for the Nicolás Maduro regime. In 2017 she entered the National Constituent Assembly and It was sanctioned by the United States and Canada.

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With the arrival of the pandemic, he made the decision to release hundreds of prisoners from prisons to decompress overcrowding. Supported by the Protected Confidence Regime, established in the Organic Penitentiary Code, made the decision to release 382 inmates of the Tocuyito Penitentiary Center in the state of Carabobo,


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