Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López arrived in Madrid this Sunday after clandestinely leaving your country where he was a refugee for 18 months in the residence of the Spanish ambassador, and was reunited with his family.
“Yes, I can confirm that he is in Madrid”, said about his son to AFP, with emotion in his voice, the father of the opposition, Leopoldo López Gil, MEP for the Popular Party (PP, right).
The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed the information in a statement, stating that the emblematic 49-year-old opposition leader he was able to “reunite with his family” resident in Madrid: his father, his wife Lilian Tintori and their three children.
López Gil Sr. declined to indicate which country his son came from. But on Saturday he had indicated that after leaving the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, where he took refuge for 18 months, he left Venezuela in a “clandestine” way by the border with Colombia.
According to a source close to the family, López will offer a press conference in Madrid in the coming days, a city that houses other Venezuelan opposition leaders who surreptitiously left Venezuela. like the former mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma.
“Venezuelans, this decision has not been easy, but rest assured that you have this server to fight from any space, “explained Leopoldo López on Twitter López on Saturday night.
Charismatic former mayor of the wealthy Caracas municipality of Chacao, was sentenced in 2015 to almost 14 years in prison, accused of inciting violence in protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro that left 43 dead and some 3,000 injured between February and May 2014.
In 2017, he received house arrest, after which he was released by his guards and participated in a failed uprising by a group of soldiers against Maduro on April 30, 2019, which was backed by the parliamentary head Juan Guaidó.
After the failure of the uprising, López took refuge in the ambassador’s house from Spain in Caracas, where he was as a guest.
Madrid condemned that after his departure has been detained “labor personnel of your embassy“and have suffered searches” addresses of staff assigned to it.
“Maduro, you don’t control anything. By circumventing your repressive apparatus, we managed to get our Commissioner for the Center of Government, Leopoldo López, into international territory, “Juan Guaidó, recognized as interim president by fifty countries, said on Twitter.
López’s exile comes just a few weeks before the parliamentary elections on December 6, promoted by Maduro’s allies but boycotted by some thirty parties when they denounced them as a “fraud” that does not offer guarantees of transparency.
Furthermore, it occurs after Maduro “pardon” on September 1 to a hundred opponents, several of them collaborators of Guaidó.
“If right-wing extremists say they ‘will never leave’ and that they ‘always do well’ … prepare to see them flee out the back door, stumble and fall,” wrote Venezuelan Communication Minister Freddy Ñáñez. “He swore he would never leave and fled his Spanish hostel without firing a shot. Everyone calls him a coward “, he ironized.
Already hit by the fracture in the opposition, the departure of López “further weakens Guaidó internally, because it is a sign that Guaidó is on his way out“, observes the political consultant of the University of Zulia, Jesús Castillo-Molleda.
Also “you can see how a negotiation with the government, because for Maduro it is better to have Leopoldo outside,” Castillo told AFP.