14ymedio, Caracas, 30 April 2019 — Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López has been released by military deserters after receiving a presidential pardon, according to what his father told the Spanish radio station Cadena SER. Shortly afterwards, Juan Guaidó appeared with the leader of Venezuela’s Voluntad Popular ( Popular Will) Movement at La Carlota air base in Caracas to ask the military to rise up against Maduro in what he has called “Operación Libertad” (Operation Freedom).
“People of Venezuela our struggle is framed in the Constitution, in nonviolence,” said the interim president in a video that has been broadcast live on Twitter.
Guaidó has asked public employees and the military to join him. “I invite you to activate Operation Libertad in all the streets of Venezuela, as president in charge of Venezuela, I call all the soldiers, the entire military family to join us in the fight, not violent,” the politician adds.
According to the Spanish newspaper ABC , seven military detachments have been taken over by allies of Guaidó.
The Venezuelan government has already reacted by saying that it has the situation under control. Venezuela’s communication minister, Jorge Rodríguez, said that he is “confronting and deactivating” a plan for a coup.
“We inform the people of Venezuela that we are currently confronting and deactivating a small group of traitor military personnel who positioned themselves in the Altamira Area to promote a coup d’état against the Constitution and the peace of the Republic,” the minister said.
Within the framework of our constitution. For the final end of the usurpation. [See video here]
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) April 30, 2019
Leopold López, leader of the Voluntad Popular Movement, has been under house arrest since July 2017. Before that, López was in Ramo Verde prison since February 18, 2014 when he voluntarily turned himself in to the police after an arrest warrant was issued against him for the events that took place in a demonstration called six days earlier by, among others, him.
In September 2015, he was sentenced to almost 14 years in prison for the crimes of public incitement, conspiracy (association to commit a crime), property damage and arson for the events that occurred during the demonstration on February 12.
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