[Pnews] Venezuela's Maduro would free opposition leader if U.S. freed Puerto Rican Oscar Lopez Rivera

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 5 10:13:09 EST 2015


  Venezuela's Maduro would free Lopez if U.S. freed Puerto Rican

CARACAS Sun Jan 4, 2015 6:48pm EST
*http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/04/us-venezuela-prisoners-idUSKBN0KD0PQ20150104*

(Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday he would 
only seek the release of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez if the 
United States agreed to release a Puerto Rican nationalist currently 
held in a U.S. prison.

Lopez was arrested in February after he helped launch a three-month wave 
of opposition demonstrations seeking Maduro's resignation, an effort 
government critics called free protest but the government said was meant 
to spark a coup.

Maduro suggested he could send Lopez to the United States if Washington 
secured the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, who was convicted in 1981 of 
seditious conspiracy along with other militants who sought to secure 
Puerto Rican independence.

"The only way I would use (presidential) powers would be to put 
(Leopoldo Lopez) on a plane, so he can go to the United States and stay 
there, and they would give me Oscar Lopez Rivera - man for man," Maduro 
said during a televised broadcast.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Caracas said he had no immediate 
comment on the issue.

U.S. government officials including President Barack Obama have called 
for the release of Lopez, describing him as a political prisoner, a term 
Maduro says is more appropriate for Lopez Rivera.

In 1999, Lopez Rivera turned down an offer of conditional clemency by 
then President Bill Clinton, according to media reports.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Eric Walsh 
<http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=eric.walsh&>)

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