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Venezuelan protest brought to the Vatican asking for the release of Leopoldo López


While it's very cold in the street, the December chill doesn't seem to matter for these wives: Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo López, an opponent of the Venezuelan government, and Mitzy Capriles, the wife of  mayor Antonio Ledezma. They chained themselves in the Vatican as a sign of protest, to ask for the release of their husbands and other political prisoners from Venezuela.

More than 100 people in the country are imprisoned in different prisons for ideological reasons. It is something unthinkable to happen in 2016, that goes against the foundations of basic human rights. They say that among the prisoners there are public figures, students and people who simply do not accept Nicolás Maduro's dictatorship.

There are only a few hours before a meeting between the opposition and the government, so the women hope that a solution will finally be found. 

Venezuelan Activist
"We expect results, and the first thing we are hoping for is the release of all political prisoners in Venezuela. As in the case of Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos and Leopoldo López, some of the prisoners are internationally known and have always expressed their opinion and stance openly.

Lilian's husband, Leopoldo López, has now spent 1,022 days and counting in prison. It is something that is difficult to forget because it becomes harder for her and her children every day. But she says, she is not afraid.

Venezuelan Activist
"They have taken away so much that they have taken away our fear. The day they took Leopoldo prisoner, which separated him from my children, on that day I realized how serious, how bad we have it in Venezuela. It was two years and nine months ago and my husband Leopoldo told me: 'We are going to fall into a crisis, there will not be food, there will not be medicine' and that is happening.

The women's desire is clear, and they insist they are doing it from a position of humility and honor. All they want is respect for something that people have fought so hard for throughout history: equality and human rights.

Wife of political prisoner, Antonio Ledezma
"We claim justice. There is no better place on Earth to do it, than here, from the Vatican. With God's favor, we will make them listen. As for President Nicolás Maduro, we have faith that he will reconsider and understand that we can all continue as Venezuelans under the same sun and each serve the country in his own way."

Lilian Tintori, Mitzy Capriles and the mother of Leopoldo López, Antonieta Mendoza, are not intimidated and have come to the Vatican to demand the release of their relatives and all political prisoners. They are the living proof of a struggle that does not end.

They have faith and assert that they believe in the Vatican and the role of Pope Francis, as a neutral voice between the Maduro government and the opposition.

- PR