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

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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.

READ: Fed Up Venezuelans Unite Nationwide To Tell Maduro They’ve Had Enough

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This Powerful Story Got Everyone At The ESPYs On Their Feet

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This Powerful Story Got Everyone At The ESPYs On Their Feet

Credit: ESPN / ABC

“All I thought was that my son was going to be afraid of me.”

Air Force Master Sargeant Israel Del Toro was the recipient of the Pat Tillman Award for Service at this year’s ESPYs, and both his personal story and acceptance speech were some of the highlights of the night.

In 2005, while Del Toro was serving in Afghanistan, he was gravely injured when his Humvee rolled over an IED. The bomb exploded, leaving Del Toro with third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body. After going into a coma, Del Toro was given a 15 percent chance of survival. He eventually emerged from the coma but was told he wouldn’t be able to walk or breathe without the help of a respirator.

Del Toro told ABC News that he took the news as a challenge: “Pretty much, I kind of felt they could go to hell.” Less than three months after his diagnosis, Del Toro walked out of the hospital and began his recovery. By 2010, Del Toro became the first 100 percent combat-disabled veteran to re-enlist in the Air Force, where he now works as an instructor and trainer.

During physical therapy, Del Toro discovered adaptive sports, and began competing in events such as the Invictus Games, which allow armed service personnel who are injured, sick, or wounded to compete in athletics. At the 2016 Invictus Games, Del Toro won a gold medal in shot put and silver medal in powerlifting.

Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart introduced Del Toro to everyone at the ESPYs, describing him as “humble, kind and funny as hell.”  Stewart added: “He inspires not just by his story, but by the humility, humor and deep love of country and family that defines him.”

During his acceptance speech, Del Toro thanked everyone who helped him recover, including his physical therapist, his wife and his son. He revealed that one of his biggest worries was that his son, upon seeing the scars on his body, would be afraid of him. But he soon realized that his son just wanted his father to be home.

Watch the official ESPN clip of Del Toro’s speech:

Credit: ESPN

At 9-Years-Old, His Story Gave Us All The Feels. At 14, His Story Is Inspiring AF

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