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16 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 4 - Lopez receives support from foreign governments and media

Despite his violent tactics and mixed popularity in Venezuela, the U.S. government and international media have rallied behind López. While imprisoned, his wife, former model and television personality Lilian Tintori, met with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and President Donald Trump. Rubio recently introduced the Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act which, if passed, would funnel as much as $10 million to the Venezuelan opposition.

After the meeting, Trump tweeted that López was a political prisoner who should be freed immediately.

MintPress has reported on several occasions regarding the U.S.’ efforts to destabilize, weaken and overthrow the democratically-elected government of Venezuela. From economic warfare to direct funding of the opposition and “democracy-promoting” NGOs, the U.S. has made its hostile position towards the Chavista government well known, spending over $100 million from just 2002 to 2010 on Venezuelan opposition efforts. The Obama administration pledged approximately $20 million over its eight years in the White House.

This became particularly true after Chávez nationalized the Venezuelan oil industry in 2007, which kicked several powerful U.S. energy corporations out of the country (which has the world’s largest oil reserves) and lost them millions. One of those companies was ExxonMobil, whose CEO at the time was current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. This, not surprisingly, explains Tillerson’s personal vendetta against the Chavista regime, one that has influenced his calls for regime change which began just days after Trump took office.

As María Páez Victor, a Venezuelan-born sociologist, wrote in 2014: “The real opposition in Venezuela is the USA, its allies and its agents who feed the illegal pipeline of dollars that pour into bogus NGOs and the opposition parties.” Leopoldo López is not only one of the major beneficiaries of the “real opposition,” he is also its poster boy.

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