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LATIN AMERICA | 01-05-2019 10:43

Venezuelan Leopoldo López leaves Chile Embassy for Spanish consulate

López, a key opponent of President Nicolás Maduro, emerged earlier Tuesday from two years of house arrest at a demonstration outside a military barracks.

Venezuelan opposition figure Leopoldo López left the Chilean Embassy in Caracas and moved to the city's Spanish consulate on Tuesday after earlier being freed from house arrest, Chile's Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero confirmed.

López, his wife, and one of his three sons had been welcomed to the Chilean Embassy as guests "under the diplomatic protection of Chile," and none of them were there to seek asylum, Ampuero told reporters in Santiago. 

"Lilian Tintori and Leopoldo López – who are of Spanish descent – moved to the Spanish Embassy," Ampuero later said in a statement on Twitter. "They made a personal decision."

López, a key opponent of President Nicolás Maduro, emerged earlier Tuesday from two years of house arrest to join opposition leader Juan Guaidó at a demonstration outside a military barracks with a small group of soldiers 

The Popular Will leader had been accused in 2014 of inciting violent protests against the government and began his 14-year sentence in 2017. 

Five other Venezuelan judges – elected by the opposition-dominated congress – were also taken in at the Chilean Embassy, but managed to leave the country and are currently in Chile under political asylum. 

Chile is part of the Lima Group, created in 2017 as a response to Venezuela's political and economic crisis, which on Tuesday called for an emergency meeting set for Friday. 

- TIMES/AFP

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