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Caracas Mayor Ledezma, Venezuela’s Most Inconvenient Political Prisoner, Flees to Colombia

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Nov 17, 2017, 1:35 pm
antonio ledezma
Ledezma arrived in Cúcuta this Friday at 8:00 am where an armored truck was waiting for him at customs and immigration.  (Flickr)

EspañolAfter more than 1,000 days under arrest, the former Mayor of Caracas escaped his home and fled Venezuela. Antonio Ledezma crossed the Colombia-Venezuela border this Friday, November 17, El Nacional reported.

Ledezma proved to be the most problematic political prisoner for the Maduro regime, consistently making blunt condemnations of socialism while also criticizing the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) political opposition coalition. He was openly dissatisfied with the dialogues taking place between the dictatorship and the opposition, as well as participation in fraudulent elections.

Ledezma reportedly entered the city of Cúcuta at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, where an armored truck was waiting at customs and immigration to take him to the capital of Norte de Santander.

He will reportedly travel out of Colombia to an undisclosed European country. Since he was never given a fair trial and was accused without evidence of conspiring against Nicolás Maduro’s regime, there was little chance he would be set free in his own country. Ledezma’s hearing was delayed more than 10 times, and he was never given a chance to offer a defense.

 

Some confusion still remains regarding Ledezma’s escape. Venezuelans have taken to social media to ask if the former political prisoner has lost hope of any change in Venezuela, or, on the contrary, if he is planning to pressure the regime through an campaign abroad.

Tweet: I was sure that Antonio Ledezma would never allow himself to become a pawn of the tyrants. His life was in danger because of the position he took so firmly and logically against participating in false dialogues. Wherever he might be, he will fight tirelessly for our freedom. 

Another tweet, from former Colombian minister and current independent presidential candidate Marta Lucía Ramírez revealed that former President Andrés Pastrana may have helped Ledezma escape.

Welcome to Colombia @alcaldeledesma (Mayor Ledezma) from where you will continue to fight for #LibertyForAllVEnezuelans. Congratulations @AndresPastrana for your support. #Democracy for Venezuela. 

Venezuelan journalist Elyangélica González tweeted that Ledezma “chose to flee from his house arrest after threats of being taken back to Ramo Verde prison unless he changed his position on the dialogues between the government and the opposition. ”

Antonio Ledezma: “I have passed the torch to María Corina Machado”

Upon arriving in Colombia, the opposition leader made an exclusive statement to Caracol Radio, in which he assured listeners that he will continue to fight for the release of all political prisoners in Venezuela. He also said he has “passed the torch” of fighting for liberty to María Corina Machado.

Ledezma called on the Venezuelan people to not sacrifice their dignity, and to “continue fighting with decency in order to obtain freedom for the country and all of its people.”

Reactions to the message

Greetings to Antonio Ledezma, the moral compass of Venezuela, now free to lead the fight for Democracy in his country from abroad 

If this is true its wonderful news “Antonio Ledezma has escaped from Venezuela” ( he hasn’t escaped from  Venezuela, he has escaped from the regime)

It looks like Antonio Ledezma has done the right thing and escaped. He will be able to do more from the outside than under house arrest. Bravo Antonio!

Sources: Blu Radio, El Nacional.

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.