Canada condemns imprisonment of Venezuelan opposition leaders

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

August 1, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on Venezuela:

“Canada is gravely alarmed by the unlawful detention of Venezuelan opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo López, the latter with whom I spoke less than two weeks ago. Their detention is further proof of the regime’s dictatorial intentions.

“We call for their immediate release, as well as the release of all political prisoners.

“I commend the courage of all Venezuelans who continue to stand up for their democratic and human rights. Canada stands with the brave Venezuelan people as they struggle to preserve the future of their deeply threatened democracy.

“The Maduro government’s campaign of repression is unacceptable. We urge the Venezuelan government to respect the autonomy and authority of the national assembly and other independent institutions. The national assembly is the only legitimately elected legislative body in Venezuela: it ‎must be respected and its full powers must be restored.

“Canada calls on the government to respect the democratic rights of Venezuelan citizens and enter into meaningful negotiations to restore constitutional order in Venezuela.”

Quick facts

  • On July 8, 2017, the Venezuelan supreme court placed political prisoner Leopoldo López under house arrest after he had spent three years in prison for his role in anti-government protests in 2014.
  • Antonio Ledezma was placed under house arrest in 2015 after being imprisoned on charges of leading an alleged coup against Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.
  • On July 30, Venezuelans were called to vote on the government’s internationally discredited proposal to establish a constituent assembly. Both Mr. López and Mr. Ledezma have invited Venezuelans to join protests against the antidemocratic creation of the constituent assembly and to defend their fundamental rights and freedoms.

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