Opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez flees Venezuela

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Key Venezuelan opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez has left the Spanish diplomatic compound in Caracas where he had been staying for more than a year and fled the country, his party said on Saturday.

“Today … Leopoldo Lopez leaves the Spanish embassy in Venezuela for international territory to promote new actions in the fight for the freedom of Venezuela,” Voluntad Popular (Popular Will), the party founded and led by Lopez, said in a statement.

“This decision … has been made considering what is best for the country and the fight for Venezuela’s freedom,” the statement continued.

“After seven years of persecution and unjust imprisonment within Venezuela, Leopoldo Lopez still does not have total freedom, same as all Venezuelans, as long as there is a dictatorship that violates the human rights of the people,” Voluntad Popular said.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed in a tweet that the opposition figure left the Spanish ambassador’s residence, where he had been staying since April 2019, of his own will.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who dozens of countries have recognized as Venezuela’s interim president, claimed on Twitter that Lopez escaped the country by “outwitting” President Nicolas Maduro’s “repressive aparatus.”

“Maduro, you control nothing,” Guaido tweeted.

Lopez was jailed in 2014 after calling for protests against Maduro and was released into house arrest in 2017.

He was freed from house arrest on Guaido’s orders in 2019, but fled to the Spanish diplomatic compound following a failed opposition uprising.

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