Leopoldo Lopez’s father, Leopoldo Lopez Gil, added his voice to a chorus of supporters calling for Lopez to end his hunger strike. Lopez has been on a hunger strike since May 24, and one of his lawyers claimed last week that he was being tortured psychologically with food and was not receiving adequate medial care. Yesterday, Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles also called for Lopez to end his strike, saying that he believed that the Venezuelan government was likely willing to let him die.
Gil expressed his concerns about his son’s health in a Father’s Day Letter he wrote. The letter can be seen here in Spanish, and my translation is below:
My dear and beloved son,
Celebrating Father’s Day has made me think about you a lot. I also remember by father – your grandfather – whom I loved and admired a lot. As I wrote this letter, I felt that I was speaking with him, and that he spoke to you. It’s not unusual for me to hear his voice telling me about his family’s struggle for a better Venezuela.
I heard him tell me about the horrors of [Juan Vicente] Gomez’s prisons, the abject poverty of grandmother and his brothers, the escapades of the enforcers and the solitude of exile. I cried when I remember what a struggle that was, and how futile they seem who don’t have an ideal in their souls.
Today, our homeland appears to have gone backwards and embraced the Venezuelan barbarity that Romulo Gallegos described to well. It’s worse today, though, because [the barbarity] of before was authentic, while that of today is foreign because it has been imported.
Greed, the insatiable appetite for power and money have made our poor country into a puddle so dark that oil appears crystalline by comparison.
This land has always had the fortune of generating brave, principled men; men who from our struggles for emancipation carried out their duties with dedication and disinterest as the true love for the homeland demands.
You are one of those men, always ready to build dreams, daring to turn ideas into realities.
You do this with such dedication that many people follow your example.
You face adversity with such bravery that many often take you to be [Don] Quixote. You are not just a Quixote; you are an Alonso Quixano. [Alonso Quixano is the name of the protagonist in Cervantes’ Don Quixote; Don Quixote is the knightly name Quixano gives himself.]
As you are a man with both feet planted firmly on the ground, I’m asking you that as my Father’s Day gift you stop your exemplary display of sacrifice that is your hunger strike and return to biological normality in the absurd condition of prisoner of this tyrannical regime.
Your sacrifice has given enough fruits; another hundred young men have demonstrated in similar fashion. The world turned its head, and was moved by our reality. Enough of this sacrifice, for today your health is in danger, and it would be irresponsible to not look to your own condition.
Sancho [Panza] told Don Alonso [Quixote] when they were saying goodbye:
“Don’t die. Take my advice and live many years, because the craziest thing a man can do in this life is to let himself die.”
To this we will add that, unlike what Quixote was doing, you are not fighting imaginary windmills. The enemy is real, hardened, and must be faced with decisiveness and courage.
I hope you take my advice as a request from a father and a grandfather. It’s a humble request for your health. You know that I wish we could be together, but for reasons we all know we will not be together. You know how much I love and admire you, and you know that I will always support your choice to go down the path you choose.
I remind you of your compromise with your family and country. You must be strong and have faith.
Rafael Isea’s Family Arrested by SEBIN
The Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional [SEBIN], the country’s secret police, have arrested Rafael Isea’s mother and sister after raiding his home in Maracay, Aragua state.
Isea is a former PSUV member who served as governor of Aragua from 2008-2012. Isea left the country in 2013 under mysterious circumstances, and is believed to be working with U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials on a case involving high-ranking Venezuelan officials.
On May 22 of this year, Isea tweeted that SEBIN agents were in his home, allegedly planting evidence on a case against him. Yesterday, Isea took to Twitter again to announce that SEBIN agents had raided his family home and his mother’s apartment, arresting his sister and 75 year-old mother in the process.
Isea held Aragua state governor Tarek El Aissami responsible for his family’s safety.
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