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Former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma Brings Hope To Venezuelan Diaspora

“Venezuela is between any meridian and parallel of the world,” said Antonio Ledezma, quoting Venezuelan poet Rafael Cadenas, to a crowded room of those in the Venezuelan diaspora gathered at Florida International University (FIU) on Friday, Dec. 1.

Ledezma called for a unified diaspora to help in the fight against Maduro's regime. "We must understand, that when dealing with this kind of regime, unity is a powerful thing," he said.

He does not want to be seen as the "president of the exile," he believes that only empty-headed people would let their ego get in the way of the true focus.

"My head is full of thoughts about Venezuela's liberty. My only aspiration is to contribute to the liberation of Venezuela," said Ledezma.

For the Venezuelan community living here in Miami, it was an emotional moment to see Ledezma free. The former mayor of Caracas fled to Spain from Venezuela last November, after nearly three years in prison and under house arrest. 

The event was sponsored by the Association of Venezuelan Journalists Abroad. Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez and District 12 commissioner Jose Diaz were also in attendance to show their support of Ledezma and the Venezuelan community in their city and district, respectively.

Antonella Bocaranda, journalism student and president of the Venezuelan Student Alliance at FIU, was especially touched when Ledezma mentioned students in exile.

“A lot of us have had to emigrate from Venezuela and study [elsewhere] and leave behind our lives,” she said.

Gladys Blanco, 68, compared Ledezma to a brother or close relative you are overjoyed to see. She arrived to the United States just three years ago and hopes to return to her home country.

She echoed Ledezma’s sentiment of a free Venezuela. “Our idea is to recuperate our freedom.”

The end of his speech was enveloped with shouts of “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” from the crowd.

While he reinforces his continued fight to free Venezuela, Ledezma will be living in exile in Spain.