Political Prisoners in Venezuela, Newsletter Nº 16

Venezuela’s people need the world’s help

By LEOPOLDO LOPEZ I Washington Post
May 15, 2015

Leopoldo López was mayor of the Chacao district of Caracas from 2000 to 2008 and is the leader of Venezuelan opposition party Popular Will. He has been jailed since February 2014 and is being held in the Ramo Verde military prison outside of Caracas..

It has been almost a year and a half since the people of Venezuela took to the streets demanding change, and my country’s crisis has only gotten worse. Venezuelans of all backgrounds denounced our failed state and marched for a constitutional change of the current regime. It was because we spoke out publicly against the government’s corruption and inefficiency that I and so many others are in prison. Last year, the United Nations found that I am being held in violation of international law, and I will not relent until the people’s demand is met: Democracy must be restored to Venezuela. To achieve this critical goal, we need an end to state repression, the release of all political prisoners and free and fair elections. Read more

Reporters without Borders refuse ban on leaving the country on journalists

El Universal
May 19, 2015

Reporters without Borders labeled on Tuesday as «disproportionate» the decision of the Venezuelan justice on banning some media directors and journalists from leaving the country.

«Venezuelan authorities apply further pressure on the few independent media outlets remaining in the country, relying on the judicial system,» said RWB in a communiqué.

The organization recalled that last May 5 a judged banned 22 directors and journalists of independent media Tal Cual, El Nacional and La Patilla from leaving the country and ordered them to appear in court once a week. Read more

Arbitraries Detentions since Feb 4th, 2014

3720 detentions
31 jailed for protesting

Source: Foro Penal May 19, 2015

Jaime Gili, 2014
Part of the Acción por la Libertad Auction
Visit: www.paddle8.com

Leopoldo Lopez, Democracy, and the 2016 Presidential Race

Pressure Point
May 13, 2015

Today at the Council on Foreign Relations we hosted Lilian Tintori, the wife of the Venezuelan political leader—and political prisoner—Leopoldo Lopez. With her were Lopez’s father and mother, and his five year old daughter. They are in Washington campaigning for his freedom, and for the freedom of all Venezuelans. For fifteen months Lopez has been jailed by the Maduro regime on ludicrous, trumped-up charges after a phony, fixed trial. He remains in a military prison. His true crime was be an elected mayor and a leader of the opposition, and far more popular than Maduro.

The case struck me in part because yesterday, in Israel, I met with Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet political prisoner. On Sharansky’s desk was a photo he pointed out. In the background was the headquarters of the Soviet KGB, the infamous Lubyanka—where Sharansky had been held before his conviction and his imprisonment in the Gulag for 9 years. Read more

Travel Ban Means No Escape for 22 Venezuelan Journalists

May 18, 2015

Twenty-two media directors are prohibited from leaving Venezuela and have to show up to court every week, following a lawsuit by National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello against national dailies El Nacional and Tal Cual and the news website La Patilla. Cabello claims these outlets have caused “grave harm” to his “reputation and honor.”+

After Cabello filed the suit in April, a Venezuelan court proceeded on May 5 with charges of “aggravated and continuous defamation” against the three media outlets and their owners, who had each republished an article by Spanish newspaper ABC which claimed Cabello was involved in drug-trafficking and corruption schemes.+

ABC released the article, also reported by several other local and international media, on January 25. Its author, investigative reporter and Washington correspondent Emili J. Blasco, reportedly received the information from Cabello’s former bodyguard Leamsy Salazar, who claimed that Diosdado Cabello is a kingpin in the Los Soles drug cartel. Read more

Gaviria: Situation in Venezuela jeopardizes press freedom and human rights

El Universal
May 14, 2015

The ex President of Colombia and ex Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), César Gaviria, requested the international community to strive to promote dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition.

According to Gaviria, the involvement of the international community is necessary, because the current situation in Venezuela «seriously endangers freedom of the press and speech and respect for human rights.»

«Detaining opposition leaders and ascribing criminal responsibilities to them for the results of student proposals and protests do not contribute at all to find institutional and democratic solutions stipulated in the Inter-American Democratic Charter,» the former Head of State said. Read more

Spain’s ex-premier delays Venezuela trip to help politician

Washington Post
May 18, 2015

Spain’s former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez has postponed his plans to travel to Venezuela to help defend jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez until a date is set for the politician’s trial.

Gonzalez had planned to travel to Caracas on Monday, but put off the trip after a court hearing for Lopez was canceled.

His spokesman Joaquin Tagar said that Gonzalez will not travel until the trial date for Lopez is announced. Read more


US Senators Rubio & Menendez Meet with Wives of Venezuela Political Prisoners Lopez & Ledezma

May 15, 2015

U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) today met with Lilian Tintori, wife of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López; Mitzy Capriles, wife of imprisoned Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, and Tamara Suju, International Director of leading Venezuelan human rights organizations Foro Penal.

“My support for political prisoners held unjustly by President Maduro and sympathy for the spouses and supporters of these innocent leaders is boundless,” said Senator Menendez. “The struggles Leopoldo Lopez and Mayor Antonio Ledezma are enduring is a fight embraced by all who value democracy and human rights, and reject the suppression of universal freedoms.» Read more

Wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez speaks in US

May 14, 2015

For 5-year-old Manuela, the «magic word» is not please or thank you, it’s «libertad»—the Spanish word for freedom. That’s the term she’s heard her mother say repeatedly in the 15 months since her father, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, has been in prison.

«We are going to free daddy,» Lilian Tintori told her daughter in Spanish during a roundtable at the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday.

Tintori was in Washington to accept an award on her husband’s behalf from the nonprofit National Endowment for Democracy. Read more

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