CARACAS – Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero has just confirmed on Twitter that Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López has entered the Chilean embassy in Caracas. López was arrested after the anti-government protests in 2014 and freed today by military men loyal to interim-president Juan Guaidó.
The wife and daughter of the opposition leader entered the Chilean embassy as guests, according to Ampuero’s tweet. Leopoldo López himself joined them later. “Chile reaffirms commitment with Venezuelan democrats,” Ampuero concluded in his tweet.
Lilian Tintori y su hija ingresaron como huéspedes a residencia de nuestra misión diplomática en Caracas. Hace minutos se sumó su cónyuge, Leopoldo López, que permanece junto a su familia en dicho lugar. Chile reafirma compromiso con demócratas venezolanos.
— Roberto Ampuero (@robertoampuero) April 30, 2019
López was freed this morning by soldiers loyal to Juan Guaidó. He was under house arrest since the anti-government protests in 2014 and is known as the man behind the interim-president. Guaidó called this morning in a video shot on a military base upon the Venezuelan army and citizens to take to the streets and join the battle against Maduro. After the call, clashes erupted between protesters and members of the Venezuelan National Guard.
“The Venezuelan opposition clearly knows they can count on Chile”
Chile Today´s Foreign Affairs Correspondent Christian Scheinpflug comments on the move from López and Chile’s role in the conflict. “Right now, it is hard to say if Chilean authorities were involved, but the Venezuelan opposition clearly knows it can count on Chile. That would give Chile much influence in post-Maduro Venezuela, but it undermines right now its mediator position because Maduro won’t take the Chileans seriously.
“If the uprising fails, Chile will also have lost all credibility in Venezuela’s ruling class. [But] internationally, Chile will be seen as a strong backer of democracy and human rights. This moment couldn’t be more ironic with the government just having signed agreements with China. This contradiction could haunt Chile but for the moment it appears as democracy promoter.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.