Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Venezuela president reneges on pledge to free opponent López

By on January 18, 2017

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s president is backing out of a pledge to free opponent Leopoldo López now that President Barack Obama has commuted the sentence of a Puerto Rican independence activist whose release the embattled socialist has long promoted.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. The main opposition coalition marched to call on the Organization of American States to intervene in Venezuela's political crisis. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. The main opposition coalition marched to call on the Organization of American States to intervene in Venezuela’s political crisis. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

In 2015, Maduro said he would release López the day that Obama freed Oscar López Rivera. When asked Wednesday at a press conference about that pledge, Maduro said he’d been joking.

He also went one step further and accused Lopez of being a CIA spy not worthy of being compared to López Rivera, who was serving out a long sentence for his role in a violent struggle for the U.S. island territory’s independence.

López is serving a 14-year sentence for allegedly inciting violence against the government during a wave of anti-government unrest.

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