New Leopoldo Lopez OpEd Released

Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, dressed in white and holding up a flower stem, is taken into custody by Bolivarian National Guards, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014. Lopez re-emerged from days of hiding to address an anti-government demonstration and then he turned himself in to authorities Tuesday. Speaking to some 5,000 supporters with a megaphone, Lopez said that he doesn't fear going to jail to defend his beliefs and constitutional right to peacefully protest against President Nicolas Maduro. (AP Photo/Alejandro Cegarra)

(AP Photo/Alejandro Cegarra)

Two days ago Leopoldo Lopez ’93 released an OpEd urging for further democracy in Venezuela, stating

 An election cannot be considered free or fair if opposition leaders are imprisoned or banned from seeking office. Additionally, the government has refused to allow qualified electoral observation from the Organization of American States and the European Union. What more are they trying to hide from the international community?

Lopez went on to discuss the hardships of openly campaigning in Venezuelan elections, yet noted that President Maduro is losing despite all his power. Calling the population to action, he said

Despite these obstructions, the Venezuelan people will turn out and vote so that their voices are heard. There can be no democratic change if people do not participate in the democratic process. We must vote, and if this election is stolen from us, then we must protest non-violently in the streets.

Lopez ended the OpEd by urging leaders to act in ways that benefit  Venezuela as a whole and represent the entire populous rather than the leaders of the regime.

Enough with our suffering: it is time for the return of a prosperous Venezuela. The United States and Latin American leaders must join Secretary General Almagro in demanding change from the Venezuelan regime. They should not recognize the election results unless certain conditions are met: an end to fraud, gerrymandering, and rigging; the acceptance of independent election monitors; and the release of all political prisoners.

This is in their best interest — for without justice, there will be no peace.

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