Opposition Members Including Former Presidential Candidate Rosales Freed in Venezuela
Rachel Boothroyd-Rojas (VA) : The former opposition presidential candidate and state governor Manuel Rosales has been released in Venezuela alongside six other jailed opposition supporters.
“I am informing the people of Venezuela that I have been released alongside other political prisoners,” tweeted Rosales on December 30.
Rosales is the leader of Venezuelan political party A New Era (UNT), a former state governor for Zulia between 2000-2008, and opposition presidential candidate for the 2006 national elections. He has been under house arrest awaiting trial on corruption charges since October 2015, when he was arrested on his return to Venezuela from self-imposed exile in Peru. The former governor fled Venezuela in 2009 to escape the charges.
“I continue in the struggle for change and prosperity in Venezuela,” he tweeted following his release.
The opposition leader’s liberation has been expected since his party decided to maintain dialogue with the national government in October, despite a decision to withdraw from the talks by the right-wing opposition coalition, the MUD. Opposition supporters accuse Rosales of having “sold out” and of “making a pact with the government”.
The other prisoners to be granted conditional release are Nixón Leal, Yeimi Varela, Skarlyn Duarte, Gerardo Carrero and Ángel Contreras– all arrested during the violent opposition “barricade” protests of 2014. They are still barred from leaving the country and will have to report to a parole officer at regular intervals.
Opposition journalist and businessman Leocenis García was also set free. García is the owner of former Venezuelan media outlet 6to Poder and was arrested in 2013 for tax evasion, tax fraud, and money laundering.
The release of those deemed to be “political prisoners” has been a key demand of the Venezuelan opposition throughout 2016.
Rachel Boothroyd-Rojas, Venezuelanalysis