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Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez Released…Sort Of

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was released from prison after nearly three years behind bars. That is to say, he isn’t in a federal institution, he is still under house arrest in his house in Caracas. The move by the embattled government of Nicolas Maduro was said to be a “humanitarian gesture” because of Lopez’s health. Others say that it is a pressure valve release as the waves of violence and unrest continue to escalate. Last week a group of pro-Maduro protestors entered the congressional chamber and injured several lawmakers. There is no doubt that Venezuela is about to blow, one way or another. The question is, what will Lopez’s release mean?

Is he, as many believe, going to be the replacement for Maduro when the socialist regime that was founded by the late Hugo Chavez is deposed? Will Maduro be ousted from power at all? He has sought to change the constitution to remain in power, so obviously he has no intention of relinquishing control. What is certain is that something has to give. Food shortages, increased crime, and general political unrest have made Venezuela a virtual powder keg. The real question is what will be the match that blows everything up? Is it Lopez’s release? Only time will tell.

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