Juan Guaido’s ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, announced on his Twitter account this afternoon that he had formally approached the head of the United States Southern Command, Admiral Faller, to discuss “strategic and operation planning” with the goal of restoring democracy in Venezuela.
Vecchio’s letter is dated May 11, the same day that Guaido instructed Vecchio to make the move.
Below, the letter that Vecchio claims he submitted to Admiral Faller:
This overture towards the United States military is likely to stoke expectations that Guaido will formally request a foreign military intervention to remove Maduro from power (note: I wrote an article examining this issue for Foreign Affairs).
Spanish FM Confirms Guaido, Lopez Met in Spanish Embassy
Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell announced today that Juan Guaido met with fugitive opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez at the Spanish embassy in Caracas yesterday.
… Yesterday, within the framework of the contact that our ambassador has with all actors in Venezuela, Mr. Guaido visited the Spanish embassy. There, he met, naturally, with Mr. Leopoldo Lopez.
Lopez was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison back in 2015 for his alleged role in the 2014 anti-government protests. However, his arrest, trial and sentence have been universally condemned by human rights organizations like the United Nations’ Working Group of Arbitrary Detention as a political farce.
Just weeks after Lopez was sentenced, the chief prosecutor in his trial, Franklin Nieves, defected to the United States. Nieves has since made numerous statements to the media to the effect that he was instructed by Maduro regime officials to falsify evidence in order to secure a conviction against Lopez. Moreover, the attorney general at the time of the Lopez trial, Luisa Ortega Diaz, has also claimed that she was personally pressured by regime officials to manipulate the case against Lopez in the regime’s favour.
Lopez appeared on the streets of Caracas unexpectedly on April 30 of this year, and claimed that he had been freed by his captors. He is now taking refuge in the Spanish ambassador’s home in Caracas.
FPV: 859 Political Prisoners in Regime Jails
The Foro Penal Venezolano (Venezuelan Penal Forum, FPV) has provided an update on the number of political prisoners in regime jails, placing the number at 859.
The news came from Gonzalo Himiob, one of the founders of the FPV, in a tweet:
#13May there are 859 #politicalprisoners in #Venezuela according to the updated list from the [FPV] that was sent to [Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro] and the [United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights] for verification and certification. Moreover, 8,467 people are still subject to unjust criminal prosecutions [and are under] conditional sentences.
The FPV is a non-governmental organization that provides pro bono legal services to victims of regime persecution.
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