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Under Growing International Pressure, Maduro Releases More Venezuelan Political Prisoners

Ariana Cubillos
AP via Miami Herald
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (left) last week being declared winner of the May 20 presidential election in Caracas.

This week a report by the Organization of Americans States said Venezuela was guilty of crimes against humanity. Venezuela’s regime promised today to release at least some of its political prisoners.

Two weeks ago, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro won re-election in a vote widely considered a sham. This week an OAS panel called out Maduro’s authoritarian socialist regime for crimes against humanity. Those include holding some 400 political prisoners.

Maduro now says he’ll grant conditional release to 39 of those political opponents, including Daniel Ceballos, the former mayor of the city of San Cristóbal on Venezuela’s western border.

Maduro called the releases a “reconciliation” gesture. But noticeably missing from the list is opposition leader Leopoldo López, whose detention – he is currently under house arrest after being convicted in 2015 of inciting violence – is an international cause celebre.

Critics say Maduro is just making a bid to ease growing international pressure on his regime – such as tightened U.S. economic sanctions. Earlier this week he also released a U.S citizen, Joshua Holt, who’d been in a Caracas jail for two years on highly questionable espionage charges.

Due largely to years of mismanagement by the socialists, Venezuela is suffering the world’s worst economic collapse today.