Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a message of “peace and rectification” from Leopoldo Lopez, just hours after the freed dissident’s release following more than three years in prison.
Maduro, who on Saturday said he supports the decision by the Supreme Court to move Lopez from prison and place him under house arrest instead, said during a nationally televised address that he hopes the move would provide the basis for reconciliation “because the nation wants peace.”
Venezuela’s most prominent political prisoner, Lopez vowed Saturday to continue his fight for freedom after being released from jail and placed under house arrest. His surprise release came amid intensifying pressure on the embattled leftist government of Maduro, with a rising toll of death and destruction from three months of non-stop street protests.
Lopez, leader of the Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) party and a symbol of resistance to the Maduro government, emerged hours after his release from prison looking fit and happy. He pumped his fist in the air, unfurled the Venezuelan flag and told a crowd of supporters who had gathered outside: “Yes, we can!”