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