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Leopoldo Lopez’s lawyers said today that they are “extremely worried” by the state opposition leader’s health as he prepares to enter day 25 of a hunger strike. Roberto Marrero, one of Lopez’s lawyers, said during a press conference today that his client is being denied access to a doctor of his choosing, as well as access to hygienic conditions and a priest.

Marrero painted a grim picture of Lopez’s current health, saying that he has lost a significant amount of weight and is the victim of psychological torture. Marrero explained:

Today, we announce with extreme worry and indignation that we have been asking the court since day one that Leopoldo be given access to medical supervision by a doctor of his choosing. This is a right Venezuelans have: that the government safeguard their health. As his lawyers, we have seen Leopoldo these past few days and we can tell you that he has lost approximately 15 kilograms, has a weakened immune system, and his physical health has deteriorated tremendously. He hasn’t been given a face mask, and he’s not being allowed to stay in a place with adequate hygienic standards. He is not allowed to attend court dates via ambulance. We have asked for this many times, that he be looked after by a doctor of his choosing and be given access to a priest. When we go [visit him in] Ramo Verde, they force us to hand him the newspaper alongside an arepa [a kind of sandwich] to torture him psychologically. If [we don’t do it], he doesn’t get access to [newspapers]. In spite of this, I see a man who stands firm, who is logical and is moving forward with his convictions, and that – try as the government may – cannot be subdued.

Dr. Guillermo Seijas, who has 50 years of experience as a gastrointestinologist, spoke alongside Marrero today, and said that Lopez is entering a critical phase in his hunger strike. Dr. Seijas explained:

The body, from the time it begins to fast, begins to supply its caloric needs and [sic] consume sugar. The most dangerous phase [begins] when the body runs out of fat and the body begins to break down proteins. This is a delicate situation, became the metabolism changes and that could give rise to toxic substances which could damage important organs such as the liver, heart and kidneys. This damage is irreversible. At this moment, [Lopez] might have lost 15 kilograms, which means that he must be given special oral solutions and good hydration. Most importantly, [he must be given] medical tests that can only be carried out by a doctor of his choosing.

Dr. Seijas also said that the next few hours could see Lopez suffer from a number of ailments, including vomiting and cramps.

Towards the end of the interview, a visibly upset Marrero said:

I want to talk to you not as a lawyer, but as [Leopoldo’s] friend. How hard is it to grant a legitimate and democratic request such as the one that Leopoldo Lopez is asking for? Why is Leopoldo forced to walk down to storeys after 24 days in a hunger strike? Do his captors want him to get worse, get sick? Why isn’t Leopoldo given the face masks we, his lawyers, have taken to him, unless the intention is for him to get sick? The only one responsible for this situation is Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan state, and the solution to this crisis is simple: grant the one request that has yet to materialize and give a date for the [fall parliamentary] elections as the law demands, because Leopoldo will not give up. He’s going forward with this hunger strike that he has taken on on behalf of the rights of all Venezuelans.

Minister of Defence: “Terrorist Acts” Damaged Military Vehicles

Minister of Defence Vladimir Padrino Lopez oversaw the hand-over of 557 vehicles to the Venezuelan Army, the first instalment out of a total of 2056 vehicles the army is expected to receive in the near future.

Lopez explained that a great number of Venezuelan army vehicles suffered damage during the protests of last year, which he qualified as “terrorist acts”. He also said that the fact that some vehicles had suffered firearm damage to sideview mirrors is evidence that “expert snipers” were among the protesters.

Only 25.8% of Venezuelans Support Maduro

The results of a survey conducted by Datanalisis published today show that only one in four Venezuelans – 25.8% – support Maduro as president. The survey was conducted in May.

According to the same poll, eight out of ten Venezuelans believe that the situation the country is currently is is “negative”, and a full 68.8% disapprove of Maduro’s term as president.

When asked who they planned to vote for in the as-of-yet-unannounced parliamentary elections later this year, 40.1% of respondents said they would vote for opposition candidates, while only 21.3% said they would vote for the PSUV.


Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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One thought on “06.17.15: Irreversible Damage

  1. Pingback: 06.21.15: Father’s Day | In Venezuela

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