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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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

Stefanie Reynolds / Getty Images

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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The US, Colombia Deny Any Involvement In What Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro Calls Failed Invasion

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The US, Colombia Deny Any Involvement In What Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro Calls Failed Invasion

nicolasmaduro / Instagram

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro accused both the U.S. and Colombian governments of trying to stage an invasion. President Maduro accused made the accusations towards the beginning of May when two Americans were arrested with a group of other people.

Both the U.S. and Colombia have denied any report of an attempted coup on Venezuela.

On May 3, a group of Venezuelan rebels and two Americans allegedly began a coup attempt in Venezuela. They began on the northern tip of the country and reportedly had plans to take control of Maracaibo and Caracas. They were all immediately captured and 8 Venezuelans in the group were killed during the conflict.

According to the Daily Mail, Jordan Goudreau, 43, was involved with the coup and told a close friend about it. It is alleged that Goudreau bragged about having a contract with the U.S. government to protect oil interests in Venezuela.

The mercenaries behind the attempted coup claim to have done security for a President Trump rally in 2018.

Goudreau, who has been described as the mastermind of the coup attempt, owns the security company Silvercorp. An old Instagram post shows the Florida-based company running security for a Trump rally back in 2018. The company has since deleted the Instagram posts after news broke about their failed attempt to train Venezuelan rebels and capture the South American country.

“He came out to Colorado,” Drew White, Goudreau’s former business partner told Daily Mail. “He said he had a deal from the State Department to protect oil interests in Venezuela. He was saying it was handed to him directly. He was saying it was directed and passed down by the State Department, that it was a legitimate operation and they also had some private funding backing, which isn’t unusual with these kinds of things. Essentially he was like, ‘We’re going to topple Maduro.’ At that point I was like, ‘This doesn’t seem legitimate” and we broke ways.”

Goudreau claims that the Trump administration and Venezuelan resistance leader Juan Guaidó green-lit the operation.

The U.S. and Venezuela have had a contentious relationship over the past few years. The political unrest in Venezuela has continued to draw criticism from the international community as Venezuelans have protested for a new leader. When the relationship with Trump soured, Maduro began to claim that the U.S. was attempting to overthrow the government.

Both the U.S. and Colombian governments have denied any involvement in the alleged coup.

Reports state that the group of men attempting to topple the Venezuelan government did nothing to hide their plan. The security group was tweeting their plans to the open-world alerting anyone with a Twitter account to their plans. SilverCorp USA has since deleted their Twitter account. Experts and officials have decisively denied any collaboration between the mercenaries and the two governments.

“There is no way that I can see any kind of U.S. involvement,” Fernando Cutz, who served as a Latin America adviser on the National Security Council under both Obama and Trump, told the Huffington Post. “There were no logistics, the numbers were a joke, they clearly didn’t have any intel. A group of high schoolers would have done a better job.”

Social media has spent time dragging the security company over its failed coup attempt.

There is still a lot of speculation swirling around the “coup.” However, Goudreau’s friend is pretty sure that the missions was not as official as Goudreau claims.

“He’s a good man,” White told Daily Mail. “He was the best man at my wedding. We have a lot of history together and it never seemed like he was lying like that. But once you started looking at it, none of it really added up. He kept asking to meet with people for funding. But typically with a State Department contract, the funding is shored up. You might have some private entities helping here and there. But it was pretty obvious that it was not a state-sanctioned activity.”

READ: Venezuela’s President Maduro And Opposition Leader Guaidó Are Allegedly In Secret Talks And The World Wants To Know The Details

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