Washington: President Trump called on Venezuela on February 15 to release opposition leader and political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez.
Announcing the US President’s demand for release of Lopez, Mark C. Toner, Deputy US State Department Spokesperson said in a statement that the Venezuelan government continues to arrest and imprison citizens from across Venezuelan society for their political beliefs. Currently, more than 100 such individuals are in prison. These include: Leopoldo Lopez, who will complete his third year in prison on February 18; Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, who will complete his second year under house arrest as of February 19; former Mayor Daniel Ceballos; and many other students, activists, journalists, and peaceful protestors.
Lopez was sentenced last year to nearly 14 years in prison on the specious charges of inciting anti-government protests in 2014. The Venezuelan Supreme Court denied his appeals on February 16.
The United States has reiterated its dismay and concern about these arrests, and other actions taken by the Venezuelan government to criminalize dissent and deny its citizens the benefits of democracy. We call for the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience, respect for the rule of law, the freedom of the press, the separation of constitutional powers within the government, and the restoration of a democratic process that reflects the will of the Venezuelan people.
Guantanamo Bay detention camp within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Notwithstanding the dismay expressed by the US adminsistration about the situation in Venezuela, the fact remains that the US has also failed to close down the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp where inmates have been detained indefinitely without trial and severely tortured in gross violation of human rights,
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, near Cuba. This camp is considered as a major breach of human rights by great parts of the world. The camp was established during the tenure of George W. Bush in 2002. President Barack Obama, who succeeded him promised to shut it down but failed to do so as the Congress passed a law against shifting the Guantanamo inmates to other prisons in the US. However the number of inmates in this prison were reduced to about one-fifth with some being freed and others transferred to different countries.