VENEZUELA— On Saturday, October 24, the Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López fled the nation after six years in jail, house arrest and diplomatic asylum.
López, 49, left to an undisclosed international location after leaving the Spanish Embassy in Caracas, as said by Popular Will and Spain’s Foreign Ministry. He had sought refuge at the Spanish ambassador’s residence after a failed military uprising against the Venezulean government in April 2019.
López has for years been one of the opponents of Venezuela’s authoritarian president, Nicolas Maduro. He sought to overthrow Maduro through street protests.
In 2019, his protégé, Juan Guaidó, a lawmaker, declared himself the country’s interim president, justifying it through Maduro’s fraudulent reelection. The U.S. and most European and Latin American countries supported Guaidó. However, Maduro used his control of the police and armed forces to oppress the opposition. With the political crisis, sanctions by the United States to aid Guaidó severely harmed the Venezulean economy.
López is the latest opposition leader to leave for exile, leaving Guaidó alone in his term as speaker of parliament that expires in January.
Juan Guaidó tweeted: “Maduro, you don’t control anything. By circumventing your repressive apparatus, we managed to get our Commissioner for the Center of Government, Leopoldo López, to international territory. His contribution for Venezuela continues from this new space of action.”
Leopoldo López tweeted: “We won’t rest and we’ll continue working day and night to attain the freedom that we Venezuelans all deserve.”