Political Prisoners in Venezuela, Newsletter Nº 17

Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on hunger strike

BBC.com
May 24, 2015

Prominent jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has announced he has gone on hunger strike demanding «freedom for political prisoners».

In a video leaked from prison, Mr Lopez called for an end to censorship, and for the government to set a date for parliamentary elections.

He also urged Venezuelans to join peaceful marches next Saturday «for peace and democracy».

Mr Lopez is accused of inciting violence during protests last year.

More than 40 people, from both sides of the political divide, were killed in months of protests against the government of Nicolas Maduro.

The authorities say Mr Lopez incited violence and encouraged demonstrators to vandalise government buildings at the end of a protest in February 2014. Read more

Daniel Ceballos, Prominent Opponent Of Venezuelan Government, Transferred To One Of Country’s Most Violent Prisons

hottopixnow.com May 24, 2015

A jailed prominent opponent of Venezuela’s socialist government has been transferred to a new prison.

Daniel Ceballos phoned his mother before dawn Saturday to say he had been moved to one of Venezuela’s most-violent penitentiaries, in the town of San Juan de los Morros, his lawyer and supporters said.

That was later denied by Venezuela’s ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, who said he had met with Ceballos at a different, recently opened jail in the same town. In a string of messages posted on Twitter, Saab said Ceballos was in good health and the ombudsman’s office would continue to monitor the conditions of his confinement.

Ceballos, who was removed as mayor of the western city of San Cristobal during anti-government protests last year, had been held in a military prison outside Caracas alongside Leopoldo Lopez, the most prominent opposition leader jailed. Read more

Ex-presidents Pastrana, Quiroga to visit Leopoldo López in prison

El Universaal
May 26, 2015

Former presidents of Colombia and Bolivia, Andrés Pastrana and Jorge Quiroga, respectively, will travel to Venezuela on Friday to visit detained dissenter and leader of the Voluntad Popular party Leopoldo López, announced López’s wife, Lilian Tintori, who will waive her right to visit his husband so the ex-presidents can meet with him.

Chilean Congressmen Want Ambassador Pulled from Venezuela

PanamPost
May 22, 2015

The Chilean Chamber of Deputies has passed a resolution demanding President Michelle Bachelet remove the Chilean ambassador to Venezuela as a gesture of solidarity with political prisoners in Venezuela.

Approved on Wednesday with 66 votes in favor, 26 against, and 10 abstentions, the lower house’s resolution seeks to remove Ambassador Pedro Rámirez “until the situation of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, opposition leader Leopoldo López, and in general every individual imprisoned for political reasons, is solved.”

Opposition Congressman José Antonio Kast, from the Independent Democratic Union (UDI), urged the president to listen to Congress and remove Ramírez “as a means of rejecting the systematic violation of personal freedoms, human rights, and the democratic development of the country.” Read more

These Dark Hours of Venezuela

laht.com
May 25, 2015

In the last few days, as the U.S. dollar skyrocketed to an all-time high of Bs.423.39 last Friday and new reports from abroad linking Venezuela’s top officials with drug-trafficking kept coming in, the government of Nicolás Maduro prepared a repressive onslaught against two of the political prisoners under the protection of different international bodies: Daniel Ceballos and Leopoldo López, both leaders of the Voluntad Popular opposition party.

Social networks in Venezuela exploded last Saturday morning with reports that Ceballos, the newly-elected candidate for mayor of the Democratic Unity (or MUD) party for the San Cristóbal municipality (Táchira state), had been irregularly transfered in the middle of the night, without a court order or notifying his lawyers, to a prison in San Juan de los Morros (Guárico state.) Read more

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Ex-president Felipe González plans visit to Venezuela in June

El Universal
May 21, 2015

Former president of Spain Felipe González reasserted on Thursday that dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition was the only solution for the much complicated situation in Venezuela.

González was expected to travel this week to Caracas, as part of his initiative to defend detained dissenter leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma; however, he put off his travel until a new trial hearing against López was re-scheduled. Read more

Victory behind bars? How imprisoning politicians in Venezuela could backfire

csmonitor.com
May 20, 2015

Venezuelan congressional candidate Daniel Ceballos wasn’t out corralling voters prior to Sunday’s primary election here. He didn’t brandish his youthful smile for photo-ops, shake hands, or kiss babies. Mr. Ceballos’s wife tweeted on Election Day that she hadn’t heard from her husband in 48 hours. In fact, no one had.

That’s because Ceballos, a 31-year-old former mayor, has been sitting in federal prison for the past 14 months, after refusing to help the federal government halt a wave of antigovernment protests that swept the country last year. Read more

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