Venezuelan opposition figure leaves Caracas for abroad | Venezuela

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Venezuelan opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez abandoned the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas to flee the country, more than a year after having taken refuge there to escape house arrest, has announced his party on Saturday.The 49-year-old former mayor of the Caracas region had been locked up at the ambassador’s residence since the failure of a military uprising he led in April 2019 to depose President Nicolas Maduro.

He has been imprisoned, under house arrest or in a refuge at a foreign embassy for nearly seven years.

In a statement from Popular Will, the party founded by Lopez, the leaders confirmed that he had left the country to continue his work from abroad in a decision they considered “better for the country and the struggle for freedom. of Venezuela ”.

It is not known how Lopez left Venezuela, but the Reuters news agency, citing two anonymous people familiar with the case, said he had exited via Colombia.

The party also did not say where Lopez was heading. A Spanish government source told Reuters his arrival in Spain, where his wife now lives, was “imminent”.

Lopez is a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in a bid to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro [File: Manaure Quintero/Reuters]

“This is probably the clearest sign that the opposition’s continued efforts to overthrow Maduro have failed when a committed Venezuelan leader like Lopez has finally chosen to leave,” said Raul Gallegos, an analyst based in Venezuela. Colombia to the consultancy firm Control Risks.

Lopez was jailed in 2014 after leading protests against Maduro.

He was pictured being pulled into a military vehicle with a Venezuelan flag in one hand and a white flower in the other. He was provisionally released in 2017.

From house arrest, he mentored Juan Guaido, a young delegate of the Popular Will who was elected early last year as head of the opposition-controlled congress.

This is probably the clearest sign that the opposition’s continued efforts to overthrow Maduro have failed as a committed Venezuelan leader like Lopez ultimately chose to leave.

Raul Gallegos, Colombia-based analyst at Control Risks consultancy

Advised by Lopez, Guaido then invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in a bid to topple Maduro.

In April 2019, when Guaido sparked a brief military revolt against Maduro, Lopez appeared on the streets alongside him. After the uprising lasted, Lopez sought refuge at the residence of the Spanish ambassador.

Guaido confirmed Lopez’s escape in a Twitter message on Saturday and ridiculed Maduro for not capturing him.

There was no immediate reaction from the Venezuelan authorities.



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