With the eyes of the world on the brutal crackdown on dissent in Venezuela, the regime of Nicolas Maduro decided to try to take a few of those eyes out of action. CNN reporter Karl Penhaul found himself staring down the barrel of a nickel-plated pistol, as plainclothes police confiscated his crew’s camera and transmission equipment. That forced him and his crew to find someplace else as a reporting center, taking them out of the center of the conflict:
Today the Maduro regime will haul opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to court to face murder and terrorism charges for his role in supposedly inciting the protests:
Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is set to appear in court Wednesday, a day after he turned himself in to authorities amid anti-government demonstrations in the country.
Charges against him include murder, terrorism and arson in connection with the protests, according to his party, Popular Will.
Lopez denies the accusations, the party said in a statement calling for witnesses of the protests to send their own accounts of what happened to be used in his defense.
“The last thing he said to me was for me to not forget what he is going through,” his wife, Lilian Tintori de Lopez said in an interview with CNN en Español. “Not forget that he is arrested for things that he has asked for: the liberation of political prisoners, liberation of students, no more oppression, no more violence.” …
Venezuelan protesters are demanding better security, an end to scarcities and protected freedom of speech.
The arraignment of Lopez provides an answer to those demands. Lopez was taken to a military prison, as Maduro described him as an agent of fascism while Maduro-supporting militias fired on unarmed protesters from motorcycles and on foot. What kind of liberty involves seizing cameras at gunpoint from foreign journalists?