The family of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López has posted a video message from the politician on YouTube a month after the besieged government of President Nicolás Maduro released “proof of life” footage in the wake of rumors that he had died.
As with all events related to López – the head of Venezuela’s opposition Popular Will (VP) party, and who has been locked up since 2014 in a military jail on the outskirts of Caracas – the release of the new video was highly anticipated.
López’s team described the video as a victory in the war on censorship in the strife-torn country that has seen two months of anti-government demonstrations in which hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets and dozens of people have been killed.
The message also came as a response to a visit to López on Sunday by former Spanish Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero – a mediator in talks between the Venezuela government and opposition groups – as well as by Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodríguez and her brother Jorge Rodríguez, the mayor of the Libertador municipality in the west of Caracas.
In the video, a trim and seemingly healthy López expressed his admiration for the protesters in Venezuela as they fight for “democracy and the liberty of our people” against a “despotic and tyrannical government that is humiliating its citizens.”
Calling for Venezuelans to continue with their “legitimate” and “peaceful” resistance, López said: “I am sure we will come out victorious,” before adding: “Don’t be afraid of the future. We know that we are on the right side of history. We know that we are heading forward and that we have to fight today so that we can build a better Venezuela tomorrow.”
López’s team has described the video as a victory in the war on censorship in Venezuela
“We will achieve victory. We will achieve freedom. We will achieve democracy,” López said.
Widespread protests in Venezuela began after talks between the opposition MUD coalition of parties and the government collapsed, and in the wake of attempts by Maduro to shore up his own power by blocking opposition attempts to push for a new election.
English version by George Mills.