Things That Matter

Two Venezuelan Opposition Leaders Were Arrested In The Middle Of The Night And No One Knows Where They Are

With guns drawn and masks over their faces, authorities in Caracas, Venezuela, raided the homes of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma and opposition leader Leopoldo López and kidnapped them in the middle of the night. The kidnapping comes just days after Venezuela held a controversial election to appoint a new arm to the government to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution. While President Nicolás Maduro is calling the vote a victory with more than 8 million votes cast, opponents are criticizing the election for being rigged in Maduro’s favor, speculating that only 2.5 million Venezuelans actually voted. One thing is sure, the vote did little to quell violence and protests that have gripped the South American country and claimed 120 lives since April.

Leopoldo López’s wife, Lilian Tintori , took to Twitter to let the world know about the kidnapping.

“#URGENT They just finished taking Leopoldo from the house,” Tintori tweeted. “We don’t know where he is or where they are taking him. Maduro is responsible if something happens to him.”

She also shared surveillance video capturing the kidnapping.

In the surveillance video above, you can see López being taken from his home in Caracas. López, who can be seen in the bottom right corner of the video wearing a white t-shirt, is loaded into the car by a group of armed individuals. López had been released from prison on July 8 after three years as a political prisoner, but was placed on house arrest.

“12:27 a.m.: The moment in which the dictator kidnapped Leopoldo from my house,” reads Tintori’s tweet. “You won’t vanquish him!”

Mitzy Ledezma Capriles, the wife of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, posted a video of the moment he was taken from his house in his pajamas.

As he is being taken out of his home you can hear people shouting, “They’re taking Ledezma! They’re taking Ledezma!” Everyone in the video, except for the police force, are dressed in their pajamas. Tweeting from her husband’s page, Ledezma Capriles wrote:

“Mitzy. Through the strength of hitting and pushing they took Antonio from out home. The regime is responsible for his life and integrity.”

Ledezma Capriles recorded her daughter, Oriette, giving the world an official announcement of the kidnapping.

“We want to formally report that Antonio Ledezma, mayor of Caracas, was kidnapped again in the early morning today,” Oriette says to the camera. “He was in pajamas. We don’t know his whereabouts. A group of men with their faces covered and dressed in camouflage came and took him. He’s been kidnapped again. The regime is responsible for his life and physical integrity. This report is for Venezuela and the whole world because they continue to violate the human rights of Antonio Ledezma and Venezuelans.”

READ: After Three Years As A Political Prisoner, The Leader Of The Opposition In Venezuela Is Under House Arrest

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Democratic Senators Introduce Legislation to Grant Venezuelan Migrants Temporary Protected Status, Prevent Deportation

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Democratic Senators Introduce Legislation to Grant Venezuelan Migrants Temporary Protected Status, Prevent Deportation

Photo via Getty Images

After years of living in a state of uncertainty about their future, Venezuelan refugees in the U.S. might finally be granted long-term protection by the U.S. government.

On Monday, Democratic senators took the official steps towards granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelan migrants in the U.S.

A similar resolution passed in the House in 2019, but was blocked by Republicans in the senate.

This time if passed, TPS could protect 200,000 Venezuelan citizens currently in the U.S, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

Although former President Trump issued a Deferred Enforced Departure decree (DED) on his final day in office, critics and immigration experts alike argue that this action didn’t go far enough.

“After four years of empty promises and deceit, nobody believes Donald Trump had an epiphany on his last day in office and decided to protect the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans he was forcing into the shadows,” said New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez in a statement.

Indeed, Trump DED order only delayed deportation of undocumented Venezuelans for up to 18 months. But TPS would grant Venezuelan refugees protected status.

“TPS is an immigration status that can lead to a green card under President Joe Biden’s immigration proposal,” Miami-based immigration lawyer Laura Jimenez told NBC News.

“TPS is based in statute and is a legal immigration status, as opposed to Deferred Enforced Departure,” Menendez, who was born in New York City to Cuban immigrants, said. “That is why we are relaunching our campaign to actually stand with those fleeing the misery caused by the Maduro regime.”

Throughout his campaign, President Biden promised he would extend Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan refugees, so now the refugee community wants to see him act on that promise.

Venezuela’s economy collapsed under the repressive regime of Nicolás Maduro, shrinking by approximately 64%.

Not only are there widespread food shortages and massive inflation, but Maduro’s critics are being jailed and silenced by other nefarious means.

Because of all this, the South American country facing what Bloomberg calls “a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions.” As of now, some 5.4 million Venezuelans are in exile, with 600 more leaving the country every day.

But with the news of a likely extension of Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans in the U.S., many Venezuelans are starting to feel optimistic about the future.

“Now, I feel like I’m really a part of this society and we keep supporting this country,” said Tampa resident Jennifer Infante to Bay News 9 about the recent Congressional news. “I think we deserve this opportunity because we came to make this country a better place and to keep moving forward.”

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Marco Rubio Writes Letter Asking For TPS For Venezuelans After Republicans Voted Against It

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Marco Rubio Writes Letter Asking For TPS For Venezuelans After Republicans Voted Against It

The Trump administration is letting Temporary Protected Status expire for hundreds of thousands of people. A lot of these people have been here for years and have started families and businesses. Republicans voted against TPS for Venezuelans so Sen. Marco Rubio is now asking Trump to do something about it.

Sen. Marco Rubio wrote a letter to President Trump asking for TPS for Venezuelans.

It is a break from the usual tactic of ignoring TPS needs in Florida by Haitians, Hondurans, and Salvadorans. These people are at risk of losing their TPS after the Trump administration decided to let those protections expire. Venezuelans started fleeing the South American country when the economy started to collapse. Many of them have settled in South Florida.

People immediately started to call Sen. Rubio out for his glaring inaction for years.

Venezuelan nationals have been coming to the U.S. for years to escape the terrifying situation in Venezuela. An economic downfall led to millions of Venezuelans going without food, school, medicine, and other necessities. The crisis was an international fascination as Venezuelans took to the streets and were killed for protesting against their government.

Senate Republicans refused to vote on a bill last year to provide TPS to Venezuelans.

In August 2019, Senate Republicans had the chance to vote on a bill that would have protected Venezuelans living in the U.S. A bill in the Democrat-led House passed but the Senate bill stalled because of Senate Republicans. The failure by the Senate to pass the bill has left Venezuelans vulnerable to deportation back to the country they fled.

“Not this week, I don’t anticipate movement on it,” Rubio told the Miami Herald back then. “I anticipate hopefully getting the administration to do something. That’s what we’ve been working on behind the scenes here, we’ve made a little progress on it. We have 17 votes already scheduled this week, a bunch of nominees, the spending bill, the veto override. The votes this week have already been scheduled.”

During this time, the Trump administration has quietly been deporting Venezuelans back.

Venezuelans nationals have been deported back to President Nicolás Maduro’s brutal regime. With no economic prospects, the deportations are sending people to their deaths as one in three Venezuelans aren’t getting enough food. This is just one of the many issues compounded on the Venezuelan people after years of economic and political turmoil.

Venezuelans are also pointing out how Sen. Rubio waited until after Amy Coney Barrett to fight for TPS.

Senate Republicans recently confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The confirmation was rushed to secure a conservative majority on the court and went against the wish of the American people. A majority of Americans preferred that the Senate wait until after the election.

There are four days left until the elections and every vote matters. Make sure you get out there and make your voice heard.

READ: The RNC Wants You To Think Biden-Harris Policies Are Socialist, These Cuban And Venezuelan-Americans Think Otherwise

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