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13 July, 2017

The violent past of Leopoldo Lopez, poster boy for the Venezuelan opposition

This week saw Leopoldo Lopez, a so-called “revolutionary” and major figure in Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, released from prison to house arrest due to “health concerns.” Though celebrated by foreign media, Lopez has a history of inciting fatally violent protests.

by Whitney Webb

Part 1

Since becoming the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley has been busy picking up where Samantha Power left off. In recent months, Haley has taken to Twitter to voice Trump administration positions regarding a variety of foreign governments, particularly those of states considered “unfriendly” to U.S. interests, such as Iran, Syria and Venezuela.

Most recently, Haley tweeted regarding the release of Leopoldo López, a prominent figure in the Venezuelan opposition, who was placed under house arrest after three years in prison due to “health concerns.”

López was originally placed under arrest for allegedly planning and promoting violent protests to oust the democratically-elected government led by President Nicolás Maduro that ultimately claimed 43 lives.

Haley wrote, “While we’re glad @leopoldolopez is home with his family, we will continue to call for his & all Venezuelan political prisoners’ full freedom.

Attached to her tweet was an image of López with the Venezuelan flag with the caption “Democracies don’t imprison their citizens or place them under house arrest for peacefully protesting their government.

The image’s caption was unusual for two reasons. The first being that peaceful protesters in the U.S. have, in fact, been imprisoned, such as the recent case of Desiree Fairooz, who faces jail time for merely laughing at a member of the Trump administration. The second is its characterization of López as someone who peacefully protests the Venezuelan government, a statement frequently repeated by pro-opposition news outlets, Western media and politicians but one that has little basis in fact.

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