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Spain vows its embassy in Venezuela won’t become ‘center of political activity’ for Guaido’s mentor

Spain vows its embassy in Venezuela won’t become ‘center of political activity’ for Guaido’s mentor
Madrid won’t hand opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez to the Venezuelan authorities, but he’ll be prevented from continuing his struggle from within the walls of the Spanish embassy in Caracas, Spanish FM Josep Borrell promised.

“Spain will not permit its embassy to be converted into a center of political activity by Mr Lopez, or anyone else,” Borrell said on the sidelines of a summit in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

The 48-year-old Lopez, his wife Lilian Tintori, and their daughter have been staying in the Spanish embassy since Wednesday after a failed military coup in the country.

It’s unclear how Madrid is going to keep its promise as media reports suggest that Lopez, who has strong links to the US, masterminded the current political crisis in the country despite being under house arrest. He was restricted in July 2017 for inciting violence during the 2014 anti-government protests. The closest ally and mentor of opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, Lopez will surely enjoy a lot more freedom within the Spanish embassy.

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“Lopez has not asked for political asylum because, according to our legislation, for that you must request it while on Spanish territory,” Borrell added.

Spain was among the 50 nations that recognized Guaido’s claim to power after he declared himself the head of state in January. However, Madrid also never cut official ties with Venezuela’s socialist government of Nicolas Maduro.

Lopez was released from house arrest on Tuesday by a group of rogue military officers, who said they acted on a pardon issued by Guaido. However, his return to the political scene was cut short as the coup failed.

Lopez first fled to the Chilean embassy in capital Caracas, but then asked for permission to relocate to the residence of the Spanish ambassador to Venezuela, Jesus Silva Fernandez. It was swiftly granted.

Also on rt.com Coup fizzles? Guaido’s mentor takes refuge in Chilean embassy as 25 military seek asylum in Brazil’s

Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero explained the switch on Twitter by saying that it was a “personal decision” by Lopez and his wife, who were “of Spanish descent.”

Lopez’s father, Leopoldo Lopez Sr., is a politician in Spain who is running for a seat in the European Parliament later in May. He’s been actively promoting the cause of the Venezuelan opposition in Spain and the EU.

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