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Jailed Venezuelan Vows to Expose Socialism's Damage

09-07-2014
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Thousands of Venezuelans are continuing their weeks-long protests against the government after the arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez yesterday.

Lopez turned himself in Tuesday after a weeklong manhunt. He is due in court Wednesday on charges of inciting violence that erupted during protests.

As he was being arrested he told his supporters he doesn't fear years behind bars if that's what it takes to open eyes to the damage done to Venezuela by 15 years of socialist rule.

"If my jailing serves to awaken a people, serves to awaken Venezuela ... then it will be well worth the infamous imprisonment imposed upon me directly, with cowardice," he shouted to supporters before turning himself in.

Demonstrators gathered outside Venezuelan embassies across Latin America on Tuesday as both anti-government protesters and government supporters rallied on the streets of Caracas.

Human rights groups condemned the charges against Lopez as "political conspiracy theories" and not criminal evidence.

U.S.Secretary of State John Kerry warned that arresting the opposition leader would have a "chilling effect" on freedom of expression.

Venezuelans are protesting rising crime rate, food shortages, and high inflation. The opposition has maintained that the shortages of basic goods and the inflation are the result of government corruption and mismanagement of Venezuela's vast oil revenues.

On Monday, President Nicolas Maduro expelled three U.S. diplomats, accusing them of conspiring with the opposition to topple his government. The United States said the allegations are "baseless and false." 

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