Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was transferred to house arrest after being sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison in 2015. Lopez was arrested in 2014 for allegedly inciting violence during the anti-government protests that year.
The transfer to house arrest comes after months of protests by Venezuelans. The Supreme Court said earlier today that the transfer to house arrest was for health reasons. But the decision to transfer the opposition leader to house arrest has raised questions among Venezuelans. According to the Supreme Court, the transfer was for health reasons but Lopez appeared to be healthy after he stood on the roof of his home to greet supporters standing outside. The Venezuelan government has not spoken about the decision.
It’s been more than 90 days since the protests in Venezuela began and they show no signs of stopping. The protesters demand general elections while the government continues its plans for the constituent assembly. The government has scheduled regional elections for December but many Venezuelans think that won’t happen with the constituent assembly. The regional elections were supposed to take place last year but were delayed.
Leopoldo Lopez spent most of the time after his arrest at the Ramo Verde military prison. The opposition leader recently appeared in a video confirming he was in good health. The video was released by the government after rumors surfaced that he had health problems. Last month, Lopez’s wife Lilian Tintori released a video from outside the prison in which a man believed to be Lopez can be heard screaming that he is being tortured.
Protesters see this as a move to calm the situation, which appears to be getting worse. The clashes between protesters and security forces have raised concerns as experts believe it could lead to a civil conflict. Last Sunday, the government also announced a 50 percent increase of the minimum wage, which isn’t good news for most Venezuelans as they know this is only going to lead to a rise in prices.