Venezuela opposition leaders arrested again
Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma came back to prison 2 days after an election with at least 10 people killed. USA impose sanctios to Venezuela. Evangelicals keep calling for prayer and non-violence.
Protestante Digital, BBC · CARACAS · 01 AUGUST 2017 · 17:00 CET
The Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela has assured Tuesday, without presenting any evidence, that opposition leaders, Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma planned to escape, and therefore have been revoked the house arrest in which they were and have been transferred back to prison.
They were under house arrest after accusations of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014.
Mr López was taken from his home at 12:27 local time (04:27GMT) on Tuesday, his wife, Lilian Tintori, wrote on Twitter. A video posted showed him being taken away by members of the Venezuelan intelligence service (SEBIN in Spanish).
Tintori wrote that she would hold President Nicolás Maduro responsible if something were to happen to her husband.
The daughter of Mr Ledezma, Vanessa Ledezma, also posted a video of her father, wearing pyjamas, being taken away by the SEBIN.
After a controversial National Constituent Assembly election in Venezuela, that ended with at least 10 people killed, the violence has continued in the streets.
The day of the election was the deadliest so far since the current wave of protest began.
Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro hailed the poll as a "vote for the revolution", and celebrated the results, declaring that the turnout in the election was 41.43%, that is, almost 8.1 million votes.
But the opposition coalition, which boycotted the election, reduced that figure to 12%.
A march scheduled for later on Monday to honour those killed on polling day appears to was postponed until Wednesday, the day that the constituent assembly is due to meet.
USA IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON MADURO
The US government has frozen any assets held by Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro in the US. The sanctions were announced in a statement by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday.
"Yesterday's illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people", he said.
On Sunday the US had already imposed sanctions on 13 members of Mr Maduro's government.
The European Commission has condemned the excessive and disproportionate use of force by the authorities.
In addition, it has urged the Government of Maduro to back down. "The president has a special responsibility in restoring the spirit of the constitution and regaining the confidence lost in his attempt to establish parallel institutions that contribute to the division."
The President of the European Parliament, who spoke by telephone with the main opposition leader Leopoldo López on Sunday, criticized Maduro's response to the demonstrations and his lack of respect for freedom of speech and press.
"In the last 24 hours repression has reached unthinkable levels The international community can not continue in front of so many dead in Venezuela, more anti-democratic than the current regime."
Venezuela's neighbour, Colombia, as well as Panama, Peru, and Argentina among others have also refused to recognise the vote.
RECONCILIATION AND NON-VIOLENT OPPOSITION
A few days before the election of the Constituent Assembly, several evangelical entities launched a "pastoral public statement" in which they requested the suspension of the Constituent Assembly.
Published in the Christian publication Truth and Life, the statement asked President Nicolás Maduro to "suspend the call to the National Constituent Assembly because there are big differences of positions and useless and bloody fights among the nation's inhaitants."
The communiqué also requested that the opposition to carry out their political and social fight with "non-violence methods"
Following the examples of Martin Luther King Jr. or Nelson Mandela, it emphasized that the Bible "teaches us to be imitators of the good and shows unlimited happiness to the peacemakers. The whole country was also urged to seek reconciliation.
The statement, which has been signed by various churches and evangelical ministries in the country, calls for the "formation of a transitional government" for a year, facing the dfficult economic, social, humanitarian and institutional crisis.
The final aim would be to call for elections, after releasing all political prisoners, and to open a humanitarian channel to "alleviate the enormous crisis that affects the majority of Venezuelans."
THE CEV DOES NOT SUPPORT ELECTION
The Venezuelan Evangelical Council (CEV in Spanish), in a statement released in May, also showed that it did not support the convocation of the Constituent Assembly by the government of Nicolás Maduro.
The organization, which represents most of the country's evangelical churches, denounced the "high levhttp://evangelicalfocus.com/world/2520/Venezuela_leaves_OAS_as_death_toll_and_violence_riseels of conflict between the government and the demonstrators" that were not going to be resolved with the vote called by the president.