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Venezuelan opposition activist calls for global backing

February 4, 2021

Leopoldo Lopez told DW that President Maduro can call upon more global backing for his cause than those fighting for democracy in Venezuela. The activist was in Berlin to drum up support for free and fair elections.

Leopoldo Lopez
Leopoldo Lopez said the world needs to do more to promote democracy in VenezuelaImage: Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto/picture alliance

One of Venezuela's leading opposition figures, Leopoldo Lopez, has told DW that the international community needs to do more to promote democracy in the South American country.

Lopez said he wants global leaders to increase diplomatic pressure on Nicolas Maduro's government, and to push for free, fair and verifiable elections in Venezuela.

Lopez called for more tangible international action against Maduro's regime, which he claims receives more effective aid from its allies overseas than the opposition.

EU position 'a matter of stance'

"Maduro has his international allies, who go far beyond the support we receive from the EU which is declaratory and a matter of stance," Lopez said in a television interview with DW.

"Maduro receives money, military support and means to divert resources from his sanctioned economy through the black market," he added.

"We hope Germany, Europe, Spain, the Latin American countries and the US will join us to push in the same direction."

Surprise Berlin visit

Lopez's comments came after he visited Berlin earlier this week, where he met with representatives of the German Foreign Ministry in order to drum up support for his cause.

His visit to the German capital comes as President Joe Biden's new administration announced an exemption from US-imposed sanctions for a handful of American firms operating in Venezuela.

But Lopez dismissed the notion that the move was a sign of thawing US-Venezuelan relations. He said that sanctions were being manipulated by Maduro's government to shift the blame for the country's failings elsewhere.

"The dictatorship has made Venezuelans believe that the economic tragedy of the country, the shortages of food and medicine, is down to the sanctions," he said. "This is not true, as there are no restrictions on the import of food and medicine to the country."

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Opposition needs to unite to achieve common goal

The Venezuelan opposition has repeatedly failed to unite against Maduro's rule, according to Lopez.

He has previously revealed plans to create a joint platform to bring together all opposition parties and other civil organizations, but the initiative was rejected by Juan Guaido, Venezuela's most prominent opposition figure.

"We are working towards unity," Lopez continued, "with a common goal and a common strategy in order to have the same objective: free elections. But they can only come with enough pressure and with the support of the countries who back the process of political change in Venezuela."

Lopez is currently exiled in Spain after being imprisoned several times in his homeland for his role in anti-government protests.

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John Silk Editor and writer for English news, as well as the Culture and Asia Desks.@JSilk