Two leading opposition figures arrested in overnight raids

World Today

In Venezuela, two leading opposition figures are now behind bars at a military prison – after overnight raids on their homes.

The two men – both former mayors – were seized by masked agents just days after that controversial vote on a new assembly.

CGTN’s Stephen Gibbs reports.
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Antonio Ledezma, a 62-year-old mayor, is bundled out of his home by Venezuelan state security.He was still in his pajamas.

At the same time, intelligence agents were taking Leopoldo Lopez away from his home. He is Venezuela’s most popular opposition leader – released from jail only last month.

Lopez had been expecting this to happen – so much so that he prepared a video in case.

“If you are watching this video right now, it is precisely because that is what happened. Because they came unjustly to make me an illegal prisoner. A prisoner of conscience, a prisoner because of my ideas, a prisoner for wanting a better Venezuela.”

Both men are understood to be in a military prison outside Caracas, Venezuela

The move came just hours after the U.S. government sanctioned President Maduro. Washington accused him of being a dictator after the vote to create an assembly that will overrule parliament and re-write the constitution.

The President, addressing the U.S. leader as “Emperor Donald Trump,” said, “I will not obey imperial orders. I do not obey foreign governments. Not today nor tomorrow will I obey imperial orders.”

He insists he will set up his assembly on Thursday.

But the existing legislature, the opposition-controlled national assembly, was visited today by the ambassadors of the U.K., France, Spain and Mexico.

Their presence sent a message – that whatever President Maduro may say, this is the parliament their governments recognize.

Mark Weisbrot discusses the latest updates on the situation in Venezuela

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, about the latest events unfolding in Venezuela. They discussed the U.S. sanctioning of President Maduro, the jailing of two opposition leaders, and prospects for Venezuela’s future.