The Shining Light of Venezuela: Leopoldo López
“[López is] the most prominent face of the opposition, driving thousands of Venezuelans into the streets to protest against food shortages, a stagnant economy, widespread crime and an increasingly encroaching socialist government” (Newsweek).
Venezuela is home to some of the most brilliant and dedicated people of the world, as well as a great production of oil. However, in 1999, all of these resources started to be miss used by Hugo Chavez. He implemented a socialism philosophy that has only benefited the top government officials. While private citizens are suffering through inflation and long lines to buy groceries, officials are partying in Miami and putting their assets in the United States. After Chavez died, Nicolás Maduro took over as the president, but he has arguable made Venezuela even worse because he is less competent than Chavez while trying to enforce socialism.
Former mayor of Chacao and freedom fighter, Leopoldo López, was sentenced to jail in February of 2015, he was sentenced to prison for fourteen years for inciting protests that ended in violence. His following includes millions who want a better vision for Venezuela- a free and prosperous nation that depends on what the people want and not what corrupt leaders want. On August 13th, the appeal of López was denied by the Venezuelan court that had judges who are puppets of Maduro, which meant that his hearing was biased and pointless.
As the son of Venezuelan immigrants, I know what a great blessing it is to live in the United States. However, I still feel very helpless whenever I see someone who is trying to use his freedom of speech to invoke change punished. Even though López is suffering in prison, his work has inspired many to stand up to the corrupt Venezuelan government, and a great amount of other countries have been noticing what is going in this country. I have great hope that one day Venezuela will become a prosperous nation through this struggle.