Jailed Venezuela opposition leader Lopez granted house arrest

The government has scheduled regional elections for December but many Venezuelans think that won’t happen with the constituent assembly.Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who had been imprisoned since 2015 for inciting anti-government protests, was reportedly released to house arrest Saturday by the country’s Supreme Court.The Venezuelan community in Doral is in good spirits Saturday after news spread of the release of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez from prison. LEO EMERGESAs National Assemblyman Freddy Guevara, who is also First Vice President of the National Assembly and a spokesperson for Leopoldo, was speaking, a smiling Lopez emerged on the roof of the house where he serving the remainder of his 14 year sentence to wave to the gathered crowds. Earlier, US President Donald Trump and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for his release.Though Lopez had publicly called for peaceful resistance to Maduro in 2014 and was behind bars during most of the unrest that year which killed 43 people, prosecutors said his speeches sent subliminal messages and constituted a call to violence. More than 40 people, both Lopez’s backers and pro-government demonstrators, died during the protests.Lopez, 46, a photogenic, Harvard-educated former mayor who has been barred from holding elected office, left the Ramo Verde military jail before dawn and was reunited with his wife and two young children, relatives said.Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez says he is prepared to return to jail rather than abandon his campaign to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power. He said his opposition to Maduro’s government is as firm as his “convictions to fight for a real peace, coexistence, change and freedom”.Dozens of supporters stood outside Lopez’s home in the upscale Caracas neighborhood of Los Palos Grandes, some wearing shirts emblazoned with Lopez’s face.Lopez had been sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison in 2015 after three people were killed and dozens of others wounded during and anti-government protest in February 2014.Lopez’s transfer has fueled hopes for a broader amnesty for dozens of jailed activists as the country slides ever deeper into political turmoil.