Wife: Venezuelan Political Prisoner Leopoldo Lopez Proof of Life Video Is ‘False’

Lilian Tintori, wife of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, rejected a bizarre “proof of life” video of a man alleging to be her husband published by Venezuelan socialist state television following rumors surfacing Thursday he had been taken to a military hospital in “very serious” condition.

López, the head of the opposition Popular Will party, was arrested in 2014 for organizing peaceful protests against socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro and is currently serving a fourteen-year sentence for “arson” and disturbing the public order, among other offenses. Tintori has been alleging for weeks that the government has denied both her and López’s lawyers access to him at the notorious Ramo Verde military prison.

On Thursday morning, Tintori posted a photo of herself and López’s lawyers being blocked from entry to Ramo Verde on Twitter. “The dictator’ship’s video is FALSE,” she wrote in Spanish. “The only proof of life we accept is to see Leopoldo.”

“Leopoldo has been held incommunicado for a month. We demand to see him today!” she continued. “It is not a favor, it is our right. It is the right of his children to know how he is.”

At press time, Tintori had been waiting at the doors of Ramo Verde to see her husband for ten hours.

On Thursday evening, reports began to surface on Twitter that López had been transferred to a military hospital following the development of a serious health condition. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that he had received confirmation that López’s deterioration was a fact, though López’s attorneys could not confirm to multiple media outlets that this was true.

Following the spread of these rumors, Tintori went to the military hospital in question and announced on Twitter that authorities did not allow her to enter, telling her that López was not there. Meanwhile, National Assembly minority leader Diosdado Cabello, one of Maduro’s highest-ranking leaders, denied that López was suffering on his primetime program Con el Mazo Dando (“Hitting with the Mallet”), referring to López as a “monster” and broadcasting a “proof of life” video in which a man claiming to be López says he is safe and well, stating the date as May 3.

Venezuelan state television published a report shortly thereafter featuring more from Cabello, including taunts to López that “the Revolution has saved your life yet again.” “He is in his cave, as he should be for the next thirteen years,” Cabello asserted.

In early April, Antonieta López, López’s mother, announced on Twitter that she had been blocked from seeing her son and told that he would remain in solitary confinement for 15 days as punishment for the growing protests against Maduro that month, though López had no hand in organizing them. By the end of the month, long after the 15 days had elapsed, soldiers were once again denying Tintori and López’s lawyers access to him.

López turned 46 years old on Saturday.

Anti-socialist protesters have convened in the heart of Caracas on a daily basis for almost a month following the Supreme Court’s attempt to usurp the authority of the opposition-controlled National Assembly and install itself as the nation’s lawmaking body. Protests have grown in size, and police repression turned more brutal, following Maduro’s announcement that he would create a “constituents’ assembly” to draft a new constitution, replacing the 1999 version adopted by dictator Hugo Chávez.

Student protesters have organized on Thursday morning to continue protests, this time also demanding that the government allow Tintori to see her husband and confirm his safety.

 


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