Recently escaped mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma has claimed that Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro is now “weaker than ever” as his country continues to crumble around him.
Ledezma, who had been placed under house arrest since 2015 for allegedly supporting a coup against the government and committing “crimes against the country,” crossed the border into Colombia last week before flying to Madrid, which involved passing through 29 security checkpoints undetected.
In an interview with Spanish outlet ABC, Ledezma discussed his experience escaping the country, his meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the stability of the Maduro regime.
“I talked to him first not about me, but about the starving Venezuelans, who are dying because of lack of medicine,” he said of his meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “I asked him to lead the management in Europe to open a humanitarian channel in Venezuela, which would be administered by Venezuelan churches, so that any help that is achieved is for the needy, regardless of their political tendency, so that the process is not politicized and does not prey on the hunger of Venezuelans.”
Ledezma also said that he had received support from an array of political leaders, as the international community continues to condemn the Venezuelan regime.
“It was a great gesture towards Venezuela that as I came off the plane, Prime Minister Rajoy me called me to arrange a meeting. On Friday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also interrupted a meeting to talk to me by phone. Shortly, I will talk with Mauricio Macri,” Ledezma said. “With their calls and solidarity, these presidents are showing they are defenders of democracy and Venezuelan freedom, not that they supporting the opposition.”
The opposition leader added that the regime was now “weaker than ever,” as the international community continues to impose further sanctions and it begins to default on its debt. In recent weeks, Maduro has turned to both China and Russia to offer debt restructuring packages to keep the country’s shattered economy afloat.
“Maduro is weaker than ever in a world that condemns and repudiates him, yet he is taking advantage of the incoherencies of the opposition leaders, so we must resolve the unity with defined purposes that are loyal to the popular struggle,” he continued.
Political persecution has increased significantly under the Maduro regime, as the country descends further into a dictatorship. According to latest statistics, Venezuela has surpassed Syria as the number one source of asylum requests into the United States.