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In the midst of a huge turnout, Venezuelan opposition leader hands himself to security forces

Tuesday, February 18th 2014 - 20:25 UTC
Full article 16 comments

Hard-line opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has handed himself over to Venezuelan security forces answering an arrest warrant placed on the figure following last week's fatal protests against the regime of President Nicolas Maduro. The government formally accused Lopez of instigating the protests and conspiring for a right-wing coup. Read full article


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  • Rick from Maryland

    President Cristina Fernandez ratified its support and solidarity to Maduro Chief Jorge Capitanich said “any conspiratorial attitude” in Venezuela poses a threat “to all South American democracies.”

    Ok, maybe its a cultural thing... but what's a “conspiratorial attitude” when it comes to democratic politics? Does she mean the meeting of people who “conspire” to promote their own political party instead of hers?

    Didn't she and her friends“conspire” to win her own election? So now that she is in power, anyone else who “conspires” to oppose her is a threat to all democracies???

    She gets away with this verbal nonsence? Really?

    Feb 18th, 2014 - 10:31 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Sir Rodderick Bodkin

    Persecution of those who oppose the government coming next to Argentina.
    So much for democracy and freedom of speech.

    Feb 18th, 2014 - 10:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GFace

    I love how the BBC visually works to minimize the turnout of the opposition in its visual coverage.

    Eason Jordan call your office.

    Meanwhile for perspective on the scale of opposition for those of us still free to see it on twitter.

    Feb 18th, 2014 - 11:02 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Anglotino

    Why does Argentina try to drag the whole of South America into this?

    The country closest to Venezuela in government and political culture is Argentina. Should Venezuela's government fall, then it won't affect the democracies in any other country other than Argentina.

    I don't see Chile's, Colombia's or Peru's governments teetering on the edge. If anything the opinion of many in those countries is how glad they are that their governments are not as pathetic as Venezuela's.

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 12:02 am - Link - Report abuse 0

    The “ conspiratorial ” references are uttered by lackeys loyal to the Maduro clique. Amigos, in South American terms that alludes to Yanquis, and not Venezuelans.

    Venezuela is a “ Democracy ” in name only, that has become a Totalitarian State, justified in the name of Chavez and Bolivar, and facilitated by Cuban agents.

    On another note: Since oil production was nationalized in Venezuela in 1976, where has all the money gone ? I still remember our former president Lula sending an oil tanker with 520,000 gallons of gasoline to Venezuela. Symbolic ? Yes. Supportive ? 11 years later, look what it has brought us. Was it worth it ?

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 05:22 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jonaz_BsAs

    The Orwellian cycle is complete. Venezuela is lost, Argentina is about to stumble into the same hole. Leopoldo López is one of few Argentines/Venezuelans with balls - kudos to him, I hope he'll be all right in jail. When he returns he might very well be the next president of Venezuela.

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 10:00 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @6 He has taken a gamble. Brave man. He will either die (in mysterious circumstance - pecked to death by a little bird) or his imprisonment will bring the world's attention to Venezuela. Not in a good way.

    Aside from my gallows-humour this may well be the best move for the opposition. Would Maduro dare to harm him in prison? Venezuela would be ostracised if its mad President did something so stupid and made Lopez a martyr. If anything it would galvanise the opposition and voters against Maduro.

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 10:39 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Mendoza Canadian

    It would appear that Lopez is a true hero. Certainly far and away above the government officials of any country in SA. And any of the “heroes” created by those governments.

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 10:56 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    None of us should underestimate the utter stupidity of the Bus Driver.

    And what is it they say about rats when they are cornered?

    These two things are happening now in Venezuela.

    I fear for Lopez.

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 11:29 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ilsen

    For those interested in English language sources I am finding that
    is currently providing excellent coverage and informed opinion articles on the develping situtation in Venezuela.

    I feel that Lopez has made an extremely smart move here, turning the trumped-up charges on their heads and exposing Mas-Burro as a fool. He has also gained further popular support by taking direct action, (instead of whinging as a Capriles is often accused of), and setting himself up as the 'martyr' dressed in white does appeal to LatAm phsyce of fatalism and a sense of permanent injustice.
    Equally Mas-Burro has shot himself in the foot by expelling US diplomats as this always brings global attention. At the start of these protests (12 Feb) there was little international coverage, now it is worldwide.
    Mas-Burro's talk of 'Empire' conspiracies is just that. Of course the USA would wish to talk with student bodies, they are the future leaders, opinion-formers and civil servants of VZ. Mas-Burro has refused any overtures from the US and refuses to do business with them. So who else will they talk to except the potential future administrators in the universities?
    The Chavistas have accused Lopez of 'training thousands of students in armed/violent insurrection'. Which is utterly ridiculous. It would take a massive amount of money and organisation, if it were true. Possibly a State-backed enterprise would be required...?
    And this is exactly what the regime has done with it's 'colectivos' and armed-gangs of thugs on motorcycles which it calls on to 'defend the revolution' and attack the protestors.
    Which, incidently are not just students. Anyone seeing the photographs of the day-time demontrations will see clearly that the whole spectrum of the VZ population is represented.
    Soon the party will be over for Mas-Burro, the Caudillo Chavez has gone and nature abhors a vacuum...

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 11:49 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Tobers

    Maduro and co are pathetic but this Leopold I feel is a glory hunter or has reacted irrationally. And if ever there was a stooge for the US its probably this Harvard educated guy. The dressing in white and the way he handed himself in reminds me of the fairy tale 'Jesus Christ' when the character hands himself in to the Romans. He could well die or be tortured and ´broken´ whilst in custody. Its all very well him becoming a martyr but that doesnt mean it will change anything. Maduro has the power, the guns and is already desperate and willing to do what ever it takes to hold onto the power. A boycott wont work because the US wants Venzuelas oil and look at Cuba, Iran. Maduros regime isnt going anywhere short of an American invasion. Whether Leopold becomes a martyr or not is by the by. Those most affected now are the middle class and the rich and when they really cant take any more they´ll leave the country rather than risk their lives leaving the factions of power within the Chavist movement to squabble and destroy the country even more.

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 04:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Nosregor

    roads through all major cities are blocked by citizens....the temperature is rising...more news to come

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 06:10 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GFace

    They've taken CNN's equipment and have been whining for quite a while that they are committing the crime of objective journalism in Venezuela. Meanwhile Auntie Beeb's webpage-based shows that they are following the Eason Jordan mode (the British here can correct me if I'm wrong on their televised coverage or domestic WWW news webpages) and they are showing backgrounds featuring crowds of people in red to provide the impression of large PSUV support while images of Lopez and his supporters are always shown up close and not showing the dramatic images we see in the twitter feeds!

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 07:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jonaz_BsAs

    “...this Leopold I feel is a glory hunter or has reacted irrationally”

    Who the heck are you to question this brave man's motives? And since when do you become a stooge for going to Harvard?

    Do you want to know what I “feel”? That Leopold has more courage in his little finger than you could ever dream of muster.

    Feb 19th, 2014 - 09:18 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Tobers

    Why can't I question his motives? You sound like Maduro.

    Feb 20th, 2014 - 09:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ilsen

    Any one should be free to question any one else's motives. That is a free society.
    However, all should be free to make informed decisions, and be able to vote on them.
    It's called Democracy for those only familiar with a much misused term.

    This might help:
    Fact: The current, note ‘current’, regime is constantly trying to block some/all of these legitimate websites by threatening the ISPs, has attempted to block Twitter during recent protests and ordered Colombian TV News (NTN24) channel off the air also.
    Welcome to the ‘Counter - Revolution’ people…… It might not be televised, but it will be on YouTube!
    Which of course leads to the Questions “WHY?” What is the regime scared of?
    There is an old quote, of which I am familiar with, although I do not have the source to hand, that “the first casualty of War is the Truth”. IMO, Venezuela is at war with itself and the current censorship validates my point. Argentina, as proved by Crass-tina’s recent statement of support for Ma-Burro proves that they are next to decline rapidly as she is on the same path.
    Who supports Maduro?
    To understand the Tupamaros for being anti-democratic bullies, mafiacitas, or even ‘freedom-fighters’ depending on your view, go here;
    Scary stuff?
    Personally speaking I think they are nothing less than uneducated thugs and gangsters operating under a cloak of ‘respectability’ offered by the Chavistas who require an armed militia for support and intimidation…

    Feb 21st, 2014 - 12:29 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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