Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho.
In a virtual interview with the American actor and writer, Ethan Hawke, published on October 26 in the YouTube channel of the Oslo Freedom Forum, Leopoldo Lopez told how he continues his fight against Nicolás Maduro after he escapes to Spain.
“One of the bravest political opponents to Venezuelan dictatorship is a man called Leopoldo Lopez,” is how Hawke introduced Lopez, before describing the torture, harassment, and unlawful treatment of the political leader went through under Hugo Chávez first and then Nicolás Maduro.
Days after the interview, Friday, October 23, Lopez vanished from the house of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas. He had been a guest there for 18 months since he joined a failed military insurrection to oust Maduro.
Sunday morning, he resurfaced in Madrid with his wife and children. Hawke notes this at the beginning of the video, but the interview got posted on the night of October 26.
Early during the interview, Hawke describes the bond between the two men: “He is an old friend of mine. We went to high school together.”
“The Maduro regime incarcerated him on trumped-up charges,” Hawke explains, saying Lopez had to endure confinement, torture, and his family-run into exile.
However, the real highlights of the meeting between Hawke and Lopez were the promises made by the politician leader to achieve change in Venezuela through his actions.
El Pitazo summarizes the ideas raised by Lopez to continue the path of the cessation of usurpation led by Juan Guaido:
1.- Lopez promised that there be freedom in Venezuela without specifying the day, month, or year in which this will happen.
“There will be freedom in Venezuela. I cannot tell you what could happen in a week, or a month, in a year or two, but I can assure you that we will continue to fight,” said the leader of Voluntad Popular, guaranteeing that he will be working together with the interim government.
2.– Lopez asserted that the way to end the usurpation of Maduro is for Venezuelans everywhere to organize.
“One must always be in contact with the people and their needs. The way to move forward is to organize people in many ways. Peaceful protest is one way to do it; organizing people is another way, getting the message across about what is happening in Venezuela is another way to do it,” he commented.
3.- On the other hand, the opposition leader who led the mass protests of 2014 said that his job is to be idealistic.
“If you do not have the ideas, you are not going to be able to put them into practice. If you do not have the idea, you can not be sure that we will overcome this, and that change will come to Venezuela,” he said.
4.- When asked by Hawke what the Venezuelan opposition intends to do to achieve a change of government, Lopez said that this would be through a fair and free election, ruling out a possible foreign intervention by the United States.
The meeting between Hawke and Lopez was promoted by the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), through its Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) initiative, which began in May 2009 as a space for the defense of human rights.