The late-night jailing of two high-profile opposition leaders in Venezuela follows a recent pattern of Supreme Court-ordered detentions and other actions against politicians, civil society leaders and others who have been critical of President Nicolas Maduro. Maduro has warned that the newly chosen constitutional assembly will detain others.
Here are some recent actions taken against opposition members:
LEOPOLDO LOPEZ: Venezuela’s most-famous political prisoner was arrested in 2014 and later sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison on what are widely seen as trumped-up charges of inciting violence tied to 2014 anti-government protests. His wife, Lilian Tintori, has become a high-profile opposition leader in her own right, marching in protests and demanding Lopez’s release. The Supreme Court unexpectedly released Lopez from jail in June to serve out the remainder of his sentence under house arrest. But he was taken back to the Ramo Verde military jail early Tuesday. In a video taped before his detention and released after it, Lopez announced that his wife is expecting a child and told Venezuelans to remain firm in their resistance.
ANTONIO LEDEZMA: The mayor of Caracas was arrested in February 2015 for allegedly being part of a U.S.-backed plot to topple Maduro. Three months later, he was placed under house arrest while awaiting trial. Ledezma released a video calling Maduro’s government “tyranny” and decrying the new and all-powerful constituent assembly. Early Tuesday, state intelligence agents removed him from his home. The Supreme Court later said Ledezma violated the terms of his house arrest by speaking with journalists.
HENRIQUE CAPRILES: The governor of Miranda state came within a whisker of defeating Maduro in the 2013 presidential election and has remained at the forefront of the opposition movement. In April, the government banned him from seeking office for 15 years. Maduro has called Capriles “trash.” In June, the Supreme Court threatened Capriles with arrest if he refused to clear large opposition protests and roadblocks that have become near-daily events since early April.
LUISA ORTEGA DIAZ: The nation’s chief prosecutor is a longtime government loyalist who frequently quotes the late President Hugo Chavez but broke ranks with Maduro following a Supreme Court decision in late March dissolving the opposition-controlled National Assembly. Since then she has become one of Maduro’s fiercest critics. In late June, the Supreme Court barred her from leaving the country and ordered her bank accounts frozen. The court is pursuing a complaint from a pro-government lawmaker who has asked doctors to evaluate her “mental insanity.”
MAYORS ALFREDO RAMOS AND GUSTAVO MARCANO: The opposition mayors from the northeastern Venezuela cities of Barquisimeto and Lecheria have each been sentenced to 15 months in prison for refusing to comply with Supreme Court demands that they clear roads of protesters and barricades. Similar threats have been issued against opposition mayors in at least two other cities.
MARIA CORINA MACHADO: The most-voted-for lawmaker in Venezuela’s 2010 congressional elections, Machado was stripped of office in 2014, had her passport seized and was barred from competing in elections the following year. She still faces charges of conspiracy.
MIGUEL HENRIQUE OTERO: The editor of El Nacional, the last remaining national newspaper critical of the government, was barred from leaving Venezuela in 2015 after the powerful head of the socialist party, Diosdado Cabello, sued him for slander for republishing an article from the Spanish newspaper ABC accusing Cabello of ties to drug cartels. Otero, who was outside of the country when the court order was issued, runs the seven-decade-old newspaper from exile in Spain.
MANUEL ROSALES: The former governor and presidential candidate was arrested in 2015 upon his return from exile in Peru, where he fled to escape charges alleging he stole public funds. He calls the allegation politically motivated. He was kept under house arrest until December 2016.