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Lopez liberation will not ease Venezuela opposition

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Significance

In an unexpected move, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was granted house arrest on July 8 after serving three years of a 14-year prison sentence linked to violent anti-government protests in 2014. Dismissing speculation that covert international negotiations are behind the more lenient approach to Lopez, the MUD convened the 100th day of protests on July 9.

Impacts

  • Although a climbdown by the government, the transfer of Lopez will not pacify protesters.
  • Anti-government mobilisations will continue, with a focus on the controversial constituent assembly elections scheduled for July 30.
  • As political tension continues to escalate, divisions will sharpen within pro- and anti-government groups over strategy and tactics.
  • Like the constituent elections, the plebiscite risks low turnout, but cancelling it would prompt conflicts within the MUD.
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