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Leopoldo López leaves the Spanish embassy in Caracas and leaves Venezuela


The Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López has left the Spanish embassy in Caracas, as confirmed by sources of the opposition to EL PAÍS, who assure that he has already left the country. López was sheltered at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas since April 30, 2019, when he led, together with Juan Guaidó, president of Parliament, an uprising that sought to unleash a revolt in the Armed Forces and overthrow Nicolás Maduro. Everything was in an attempt frustrated by the military forces that remained loyal to the Government and that day ended with his release after spending three years in jail and two under house arrest.

The former mayor of the Chacao municipality, who had been convicted by the Chavez-controlled justice system for his role in the 2014 wave of protests, then found protection in Spanish diplomatic offices after circumventing the controls of the security forces. López has already crossed the border with Colombia, according to the sources consulted, and his goal is to travel to Spain, where his father, Leopoldo López Gil, a member of the Popular Party, resides.

The opposition leader always remained on the political front line even after his arrest. He became a symbol of the resistance against Maduro and, especially since he went to house arrest and later settled in the Embassy of Spain, he piloted the strategy of the opposition forces and of Guaidó himself. In recent months, this path of pressure against Chavismo and unconditional rejection of the electoral processes called by the Government, which has not yielded concrete results, has received harsh criticism from other sectors of the opposition such as the current led by Henrique Capriles.

A month ago the Spanish Government announced the replacement of its ambassador in Caracas, Jesús Silva. However, he guaranteed that this decision would not affect López’s situation. Silva has headed the embassy in Caracas since he was appointed by the Government of Mariano Rajoy in 2017. Despite the constant crises he had to deal with during his tenure, the most tense moment was probably at the beginning of May 2019, when López, his wife – also an opponent Lilian Tintori – and one of their children sought shelter in the residence, an inviolable territory where it cannot be required by the Venezuelan authorities.