Venezuela opposition leaders taken from homes, say relatives
Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, who were under house arrest, had urged Venezuelans to protest over recent poll.
Venezuela opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma have been taken from their homes, where they were under house arrest, family members of the two have tweeted.
López’s wife and Ledezma’s daughter said they would hold President Nicolás Maduro responsible for the fate of the two men.
Why is there unrest in Venezuela?
• At the heart of the crisis is a cratering economy and acute shortages of medicine and food, coupled with rising anger at a soaring crime rate and an increasingly authoritarian government
• The president, Nicolás Maduro, won a general election in 2013 on a platform of continuing his predecessor Hugo Chávez’s socialist policies of using the country’s oil riches to reduce inequality and lift people out of poverty, but falling oil prices have forced the government to curtail social programmes
• Opposition activists have been staging unrelenting protests against the government.
Both leaders in recent days have called on Venezuelans to join protests against Maduro over the creation of an all-powerful legislative body called the constituent assembly, which was elected on Sunday.
The vote for the assembly was boycotted by the opposition and has been criticised around the world as an assault on democratic freedoms.
“12:27 in the morning: the moment when the dictatorship kidnaps Leopoldo at my house,” López’s wife, Lilian Tintori, wrote on Twitter.
12:27 de la madrugada: Momento en el que la dictadura secuestra a Leopoldo en mi casa. No lo van a doblegar! pic.twitter.com/0EdlQvEGXS
— Lilian Tintori (@liliantintori) August 1, 2017
She included a video of what appears to be López being led into a vehicle emblazoned with the word Sebin, Venezuela’s intelligence agency. Vanessa Ledezma posted a similar video of Ledezma.
Il SEBIN ha portato via a mio padre AIUTO! pic.twitter.com/uTPAPsx3MH
— Vanessa Ledezma (@vaneleca) August 1, 2017
The information ministry did not respond to an email seeking comment.
López was granted house arrest in July following three years in prison for his role in anti-government street protests in 2014. His release was considered a breakthrough in the country’s political standoff.
López’s lawyer, Juan Gutierrez, tweeted that “there is no legal justification to revoke the house arrest measure”.
Ledezma was granted house arrest in 2015 after being imprisoned on charges of leading a coup against Maduro.