Things That Matter

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

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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Venezuelan Rising Star Carmen DeLeon Talks Break-Up Inspired “Pasado” and How Her Abuelos Inspired “Cafecito”

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Venezuelan Rising Star Carmen DeLeon Talks Break-Up Inspired “Pasado” and How Her Abuelos Inspired “Cafecito”

Carmen De Leon is a rising star hailing from Caracas, Venezuela. The 20-year-old singer moved to Tampa, Florida when she was 10 years old and then two years later moved with her family to Barcelona, Spain and lived there for six years. While in Spain, Carmen found success participating in La Voz, and started to build a following that would tune in every week to see her perform. Then she lived in Mexico for a year, Los Angeles for another year and is now settled in Miami working on her music career.

In an exclusive interview with Latido Music by mitú, Carmen De Leon talked to us about her latest single “Pasado” with Cali y El Dandee, from which she drew inspiration from her very own break-up and reminiscing about the past. We also touched on “Cafecito“, the bittersweet song in memory of her grandparents, her dream collab, and more.

Pasado” is inspired by Carmen De Leon’s real-life breakup.

Carmen recruited Colombian singers Cali y El Dandee for her latest single “Pasado,” blending 80s synthpop with reggaeton, a true popetón hit you can dance to and perhaps cry to.

On working with Cali y El Dandee, Carmen has nothing but praise for the Colombian duo, “they are like my brothers, they’re insanely talented, genuine and humble.”

It was Dandee who actually wanted her to let her feelings all out for the song.

“At that moment while I was writing the song, I was actually breaking up with my boyfriend, and I had Mauricio (Dandee) saying to me: ‘Just tell me more. Whatever you’re texting him, say it out loud so we have the right words for the song’ and that’s what we did,” Carmen says.

Just like the lyrics of the song long about the past, so did the music video which was purposely made in the film to capture the “old vibe” they were seeking to portray.

Carmen feels like this is the best song that she has made in her entire life. “It’s changed my life in a way because it’s opened me up to new audiences and I love seeing people react to it and relate to it.”

Earlier this year, Carmen released “Cafecito” which isn’t about your beloved morning beverage.

Most of us would read the title “Cafecito” and think it’s just an upbeat morning pick-me-up song, but it isn’t. “Cafecito” is a bittersweet single that Carmen says she wrote, “at 4 a.m. in the middle of a hurricane because I missed my grandparents so much, and I wanted to write about what it feels like to lose someone.”

While her abuelitos were the main inspiration behind the lyrics, the song does capture the feeling of loss that could apply to those of us losing a friendship, relationship, etc.

Before I even finish the question about her dream collaboration, Carmen excitedly yelled “Camilo!,” which also happens to be one of her favorite covers she’s posted on her YouTube channel.

Carmen’s dad chimed in the interview as well to plug in his favorite cover, which is “Graveyard” by Halsey.

We can only hope that Carmen DeLeon and Camilo collab happens and that this article serves as manifestation for it.

Good luck with everything, Carmen!

READ: Mon Laferte Talks Regional Mexican Album ‘Seis’ and Singing With Gloria Trevi

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

Things That Matter

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

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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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