Outrage over the arrest of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma continued to today, two days after he was violently removed from his office by a large group of heavily armed SEBIN officers who did not have a warrant to arrest him.
Ledezma was formally charged yesterday in a court in Caracas with conspiracy and associating for the purpose of committing a crime. Immediately after the arraignment, Ledezma was transported to the Ramo Verde military prison near Caracas, where he will remain throughout his trial.
Yoani Sanchez, a Cuban blogger whose unblinking criticism of the Cuban government as won her worldwide recognition, wrote a piece titled “Maduro Does Not Know How to Govern” on her blog, Generation Y.
Ledezma is the latest victim of this political paranoia. Leopoldo Lopez has been in prison for one year, and it is very likely that in the next months other opposition figures will be added to the list of the detained and the processed. Nicolas Maduro will once again denounce plots against him, point at those presumed guilty of some coup, and point his accusing finger at the White House.
UNASUR Commission to Visit Caracas
A commission made up of UNASUR representatives from Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador will travel to Caracas next week to assess the detention of Antonio Ledezma.
At the same time, the Brazilian government expressed “great concern” about the political crisis in Venezuela. Voicing its support for the UNASUR commission, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations said:
The Brazilian government is following with great concern the evolution of the situation in Venezuela, and calls on the parties involved to work together for peace and for democracy.
Socialist International Condemns Ledezma Arrest
The Socialist International issued a press release yesterday in which it condemned the arrest of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma as a sign that “Venezuela has begun to live in arbitrariness”. Part of the release reads:
Yesterday, Antonio Ledezma, leader of one of the opposition parties and mayor of Caracas was violently arrested by a great number of agents from the repressive apparatus of the state, who took him to one of the regime’s prisons, all of this while the uncertainty and insecurity of his family and other opposition figures became obvious. Today, [the Venezuelan] population appears to be completely unprotected from and vulnerable to the whims of the growing and unacceptable authoritarianism of their government.
The Socialist International, which represents progressive political forces that work around the world for social justice and for an inclusive society, rejects and condemns these unacceptable and repressive moves by the government of Venezuela, which throws its citizens into an indefensible position and takes a step backward into history, when the only concepts universally accepted today are democracy, respect for individual liberties and the rights of all.