Wife Of Jailed Venezuelan Opposition Leader Speaks At Wolfson Campus
An overflow crowd gathered at Wolfson Campus on May 14 to hear Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo Lopez, the incarcerated Venezuelan opposition leader.
The crowd greeted her with boisterous chants in Spanish.
"What are we?"
"What do we want?"
Tintori, who is a women's rights activist, came to speak about the current state of Venezuela in order to raise more awareness about the political spectrum of that embattled nation. She is touring other U.S. cities as well as Europe.
A video of the current environment in Venezuela showed powerful images of the recent violence to protesters in their streets. Many audience members cried as they watched. Human rights activist Alfredo Jimeno and Fusion TV network correspondent Mariana Atencio introduced Tintori describing her as a valiant fighter and model wife.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently said the U.S. Congress was moving to instate economic sanctions because Venezuela's leader Nicolás Maduro is not negotiating with the opposition in that country. This past spring students and others protested against the government in the streets in Venezuela. Government troops shot many of the unarmed protesters.
Venezuelans in Miami have organized rallies to show solidarity with their countrymen who protested corruption, crime and lack of services including university classes this winter and into the spring.
“El que se cansa pierde," Tintori told the crowd in Spanish. The phrase means ‘the one who gets tired loses.’ For the crowd, it was words of encouragement to continue to protest the current government of Venezuela headed by Nicolas Maduro.
“We need to propose a peaceful solution that is powerful and intelligent,” Tintori said to the attentive audience. She reiterated the importance of speaking about her country’s political issues and supporting Lopez’s ideas.
In an editorial in The New York Times from prison Lopez said victims of oppression deserve justice. He wants pro-government paramilitary groups that have silenced protesters to be disarmed; political prisoners to be released from jail or let back in the country. And he wrote that the country must stop corruption and other countries should engage Venezuela in moral leadership.
Toward the end of Tintori's speech, the audience's interest began to diminish. Some even expressed frustration with her message.
"She did not develop any ideas or objectives to accomplish our liberty," said Olga Ortiz, a Venezuelan living in Miami who attended the event. "I am very disappointed."
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