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Venezuelan government says it is pardoning 110 opponents

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – The Venezuelan government said Monday that it had pardoned more than 100 political opponents, including some who are in prison, took refuge in foreign embassies in Caracas or fled the country fearing for their safety.

The move comes ahead of congressional elections set for December 6 that the movement led by U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó says it is boycotting because conditions for the vote are not fair.

Minister of Communications Jorge Rodríguez listed 110 people being pardoned, although the terms of the announced amnesty were not clear.

“The government’s intention is to deepen the process of national reconciliation for national union, so that political issues are settled by peaceful means and by electoral means,” Rodríguez said.

The announcement came days after authorities released lawmaker Juan Requesens, who was jailed for two years and accused of taking part in a failed attempt to attack President Nicolás Maduro with two drones that exploded during an outdoor military ceremony.

The names listed in the pardon don’t include prominent opposition leaders such as Leopoldo Lopez, who remains inside a foreign ambassador’s residence in Caracas, or Julio Borges, an opposition lawmaker who is in neighboring Colombia.

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