The Venezuelan people have been protesting on the streets for over 100 days, demanding a change to their government and the release of political prisoners. On July 8, they scored what could be described as a partial victory: Leopoldo López, the former mayor of Chacao, Venezuela, has been set free after spending three years in prison. López, a political prisoner, was held at the Ramo Verde Prison in Los Teques, Venezuela and is now on house arrest.
Leopoldo López is on house arrest after spending three years in a military prison.
López was held at the Ramo Verde Prison for conspiracy, arson, property damage, and public incitement. An arrest warrant was filed for López after he called for protests in 2008 because the Venezuelan government blocked him and other opposition politicians from running for office. According to CNN, López was originally charged with murder and terrorism along with his other charges, but they were later dropped by prosecutors after he turned himself in.
López’s release from prison has been received positively, but Venezuelans are still calling for his full freedom to be restored, along with the release of all political prisoners.
“This is a step toward freedom, not just Leopoldo’s, but also a step that brings all Venezuelans closer to freedom,” Freddy Guevara, a lawmaker for the same party as López, told the press and crowd outside of López’ home according to The New York Times.
The international community sees this as a chance for Venezuela to begin a dialogue to address the crisis.
“I am not willing to give up my fight for the freedom of Venezuela,” López told the press through his attorney. “And if that means that I must return to a cell in Ramo Verde, I am willing to do so.”
López supporters gathered in front of his home to show solidarity with the opposition leader.
López is not allowed to give public statements as a condition of his release from Ramo Verde, according to The New York Times.
While López’ wife, Lilian Tintori, is happy that her husband has been released, she is not happy that other political prisoners remain behind bars.
Tintori told Christiane Amanpour that the Maduro government needs to release all political prisoners and to give them full freedom.