On Saturday Venezuela supported Spain to shelter Lopez at the Spanish Embassy in Caracas
The leader of the Popular Will party, Leopoldo López, has denied the facts contained in an article in ‘The Wall Street Journal’ in which he is singled out as an ideologue and organizer of Operation Gideon, a coup attempt against the government of President Nicolás Maduro frustrated in early May.
“‘The Wall Street Journal’ without foundation or evidence published a series of accusations against the leaders of Popular Will and my person wholly false. Besides, I’m charged without presenting any evidence. And they don’t present them because they just don’t exist,” Lopez said through his Twitter account.
“The title of the WSJ article does not correspond to the content. They make assertions without proving anything. It does not present evidence of companies or alleged hiring. Simply because such claims are false,” he said. The article is titled “The Venezuelan opposition guru led the planning to overthrow Maduro.”
In addition, López, who is staying as a “guest” at the Embassy of Spain in Caracas since a coup against Maduro, has recalled that in his party they have suffered “unjust jail, persecution, torture, exile, even two brothers killed (Pipo and Cesita)”. “But none of that has been able to do with our vocation to fight to regain Venezuela’s freedom,” he stressed.
“The dictatorship has sought to engage us in its lies to justify persecution against democratic political parties. His propaganda apparatus has been dedicated to misinformation and unfortunately he has found echo in voices that are called to show real facts,” he added.
Finally, he has reproached the existence of “a murderous dictatorship that does not skimp on lies and deceit to remain illegitimate in power.” “It is unfortunate that in this critical hour of the fight there are voices that follow the game to the dictatorship,” he said.
The US newspaper article points to Lopez as responsible for planning to overthrow Maduro and that to do so he considered at least six proposals by private security companies — mercenaries — to carry out military incursions that would provoke a rebellion within the Venezuelan Armed Forces.
On Saturday, the Minister of Communication of the Venezuelan Government, Jorge Rodríguez, supported Spain’s involvement in Operation Gideon. “All the planning elements that led to the armed military incursion were planned at the headquarters of the Spanish Government’s residence,” Rodriguez said at a press conference.
“Spain agrees that its headquarters should be discussed on the murders of Venezuelan authorities. Does the Government of Spain have anything to say about this?” he added.
Rodríguez also reported that López continues to make video conferences from the Spanish diplomatic headquarters in Caracas, planning destabilizing actions against Venezuela, something he considered should be inadmissible to the authorities of that country.
“HUÉSPED” EN LA EMBAJADA ESPAÑOLA
López, líder del partido Voluntad Popular, se encuentra en la Embajada de España en Caracas desde el 30 de abril de 2019. López entró en la Embajada tras la Operación Libertad, un conato de golpe militar contra Maduro en el que López fue liberado de su arresto domiciliario por sus propios captores.
López no puede pedir asilo porque la ley española solo permite hacerlo en territorio nacional, por lo que permanece como “huésped” del embajador, Jesús Silva, y con una limitación de su actividad política.
El entonces ministro de Exteriores, Josep Borrell, dijo que no permitiría que la Embajada se convirtiera en “un centro de activismo político”, después de que López hiciera una rueda de prensa a la entrada de la misión diplomática.
Lopez was sentenced to nearly fourteen years in prison in 2015 for, according to Venezuela’s justice, inciting violence in the 2014 opposition revolts against Maduro’s government. After passing through the military prison of Ramo Verde, in Caracas, he was placed under house arrest.
According to Maduro, “a group of mercenaries and terrorists” trained in Colombia with the support of the United States attempted to enter the early hours of May 3 in Venezuela off the coast of Macuto, but ran into Venezuelan troops. At least eight died and more than 30, including two Americans, were arrested.
The Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Office contends that the naval raid is part of Operation Gideon, which he defines as a new attempt by Venezuela’s self-proclaimed “president in charge”, Juan Guaidó, to overthrow Maduro by military means, for which he would have signed a $212 million contract with Silvercorp.
Juan José Rendón and deputy Sergio Vergara, two guaidó advisers who acknowledged having hired the US company Silvercorp to launch the operation and overthrow the Maduro government, submitted their resignation.