CARACAS – Jailed Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was to attend court today to possibly be released after 70 days of confinement at Ramo Verde Military Prison but the hearing was postponed by the judge.
Lopez, the 43-year-old Harvard-educated former mayor of Caracas municipality Chacao, has been jailed since turning himself over to government forces to avoid collateral damage after a dramatic speech to thousands of supporters on February 18.
Lopez is charged by the government of President Nicholas Maduro with inciting violence but maintains his innocence and the government has yet to provide any proof.
Lopez, who founded his own Popular Will Party, is one of the three main leaders of the Opposition, along with former presidential candidate and Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski, and Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado. In a series of decisions of dubious legality, the Maduro government has stripped Machado of her legislative seat and jailed two other Opposition mayors as well as thousands of protestors.
Maduro was declared President after a snap April 2013 election in the wake of the March 2013 death of Hugo Chavez by an Electoral Board appointed by the Government of Hugo Chavez and dominated by Government supporters despite a difference of only 250,000 votes in a 19 million voting registry and widespread reports of fraud.
Since then, the economy of the oil rich South American nation has continued to crumble despite high oil prices, with inflation running at 60%, widespread shortages of basic foodstuffs and consumer goods, a rapidly devaluing currency and rampant crime.