Leopoldo López (@leopoldolopez) is a Venezuelan opposition leader and democracy activist. He founded the Venezuelan opposition party, Voluntad Popular, and served as mayor of the Chacao municipality in Caracas. In 2014, Leopoldo was arrested on trumped-up charges for leading peaceful, nationwide protests denouncing Nicolás Maduro’s regime. After a 19-month show trial, he was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison. He spent the first three years in prison and was subsequently released to house arrest.
Leopoldo escaped house arrest and sought asylum at the Spanish embassy in Caracas after his military guards defected from Maduro’s regime and threw their support behind acting president Juan Guaidó. After a daring escape from Venezuela in October 2020, Leopoldo was reunited with his family in Spain where he now lives in exile. Today, he continues to be a leading voice in calling for democracy in Venezuela.
Learn more about Leopoldo by:
•Watching his talk at the 2010 Oslo Freedom Forum in which he talked about how Venezuela became one of the poorest, most dangerous countries in the world;
•Listening to Ethan Hawke’s conversation with Leopoldo at the 2020 Oslo Freedom Forum during which they discussed political violence, authoritarianism, and other problems facing Venezuela;
•Reading a profile of him in the Financial Times; and
•Watching HRF President Thor Halvorssen discuss his case on MSNBC.