The former head of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who promotes a dialogue in Venezuela, met with the imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López, who called for continued protests against Nicolás Maduro.
President Zapatero was authorized to enter (the military prison of) Ramo Verde (in the outskirts of Caracas) and we had a conversation with much respect,”
said López in a message published on Sunday in his Twitter account, run by his wife Lilian Tintori.
The opposition leader did not offer details of the meeting, although the account reports that Zapatero entered the prison with foreign affairs minister, Delcy Rodríguez and her brother Jorge Rodríguez, mayor of a municipality in Caracas.
Zapatero promotes an eventual negotiation between the government of Maduro and his adversaries to solve the serious political crisis, after failed talks between October and December of 2016.
The opposition decided to leave the table -sponsored by the Vatican and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)- after mutual accusations of breach of agreements.
Maduro insists on resuming the dialogues, which the opposition rejects. They opted for going to the streets in protests that demand early elections to anticipate the departure of the president.
Initiated on April 1st, these demonstrations have resulted in 65 fatal victims so far.
López also released a video on Twitter in which he appears in his cell, wearing a white shirt and a crucifix, asking Venezuelans to continue the protests.
I want to express my deepest appreciation and admiration for the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have taken to the streets to protest legitimately, peacefully and constitutionally for democracy and freedom,”
said the leader.
Rebellion, resistance, and protests are legitimate (…)To all of Venezuela, my invitation is for them to continue on the streets with determination, always peaceful, but constant, this struggle cannot stop until we achieve victory,”
added López, who is in prison since February 2014, on a sentence of nearly 14 years, accused of inciting violence during demonstrations against Maduro that resulted in 43 dead people.