Venezuela Ar­rests Two Top Op­po­si­tion Lead­ers

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Cara­cas: Venezue­lan se­cu­rity of­fi­cials seized two op­po­si­tion lead­ers from their homes in overnight raids, their fam­i­lies said on Tues­day, in what crit­ics of Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro said was fur­ther ev­i­dence that he is lead­ing a dic­ta­tor­ship. Leopoldo Lopez and An­to­nio Ledezma were both un­der house ar­rest, the for­mer for his role in lead­ing street protests against Maduro in 2014 and the lat­ter on charges of plot­ting a coup.

Their ap­pre­hen­sion comes a day af­ter the United States slapped sanc­tions on un­pop­u­lar left­ist Maduro for a new leg­isla­tive su­per­body, the con­stituent as­sem­bly, which was elected on Sun­day in a vote boy­cotted by the op­po­si­tion.

The new as­sem­bly will have pow­ers to re­write the con­sti­tu­tion and su­per­sede other in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the op­po­si­tion-dom­i­nated congress. Both men had been urg­ing protests against the vote, which they charged was rigged and a naked power grab by Maduro to avoid free and fair elec­tions which he would lose.

“12:27inthe­morn­ing:the­mo­ment when the dic­ta­tor­ship kid­naps Leopoldo at my house,” Lopez’s wifeLil­ianTin­toritweeted,post­ing a video that ap­peared to show him be­ing led into a ve­hi­cle em­bla­zoned with the word Se­bin, Venezuela’s in­tel­li­gence agency.

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