Published On: Fri, Feb 21st, 2014

More protests in Venezuela after opposition leader’s arrest

leopoldo-lopez1CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez turned himself over to authorities in Tuesday amid a rally by his supporters in Caracas.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters blocked the streets of the Venezuelan capital after Lopez’s arrest, Reuters reported.

“I have nothing to hide,” he told supporters, standing next to a statue of Cuban independence hero Jose Marti, Reuters said. “I present myself to an unjust judiciary. They want to jail Venezuelans who want peaceful, democratic change.”

Lopez, a 42-year-old US-educated economist, has been heading last week’s protest marches demanding President Nicolas Maduro's resignation and voicing their discontent over a long list of problems including from record-breaking inflation and high crime-rate to corruption and product shortages.

On Tuesday, the Venezuelan embassy in Grenada condemned what it described in a statement as “the attempt of the Venezuelan fascist movement of trying to disrupt the democratic order legitimately constituted by popular vote.”

The embassy rejected any international interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela and called upon Caribbean governments to be alert to the escalation of violence that is being generated in Venezuela in order, it claimed, to provoke a coup.

Bolivian leader Evo Morales also suggested that Washington was attempting to stage a coup in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) said it is concerned by the confrontations that have taken place in Venezuela over the past few days.

The Community called for respect for the democratically elected government of Venezuela.

“In all democracies, citizens have the right to air their views and differences; however, this must be done within the constitutional framework and not through violent demonstrations. No democratic society can reasonably pursue disorder or any unwarranted subversion of democratic institutions,” CARICOM said in a statement.

CARICOM called on all parties to take the necessary steps to refrain from any further action that would hinder a peaceful resolution of the differences and a return to peace and calm in the country.

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), on Wednesday debated the situation in Venezuela during a regular meeting at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington, DC.

During the meeting several Permanent Representatives expressed their concern over the acts of violence that have taken place in Venezuela in recent days, echoed the call for calm made by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and urged the beginning of a dialogue between the opposition and the government, a position strongly advocated by the OAS Secretary General.

By Caribbean News Now contributor

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