DORAL (CBSMiami) – Many South Florida political leaders calling this move a sham concession by the Maduro regime calling for all political prisoners to be released and schedule a free and fair election.
This as many Venezuelans remain optimistic.
Clutching a Venezuelan flag, standing on to of a wall outside his home, opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez saluted supporters after being moved from a military prison to house arrest.
Lopez’s release has fueled hope among Venezuelans in Miami.
“It was very surprising news, nobody expecting this,” said local resident Maria Sanchez. “The country is in the middle of disaster and everyone is concerned about what’s going on every day.”
The country has been in political turmoil for three months. Economic crisis and the president’s attempt in rewriting the Venezuelan constitution has been met with protests among opposition leaders.
With elections less than a week away, some Venezuelans who live in Miami came to find out how they can vote and participate, saying they don’t like the current government and are hopeful that Lopez eventually takes on more of leadership role.
“I like Lopez because he is a very intelligent man and he is fighting for freedom in Venezuela,” said Miami resident Anna. “I think he’s a nice person, I would like for him to be an important person in Venezuela, maybe president.”
The 46 year old opposition activist spent more than three years at the military prison on a nearly 14 year sentence for inciting violence during anti-government protests which three people died and dozens were wounded.
According to the Associated Press, President Nicolas Maduro supports the transfer of Lopez to house arrest and wants Lopez to join in calling for peace.
But Lopez says he is prepared to return to jail rather than abandon his campaign to remove President Maduro from power.
No matter what happens, many hope this is a sign of change.
The White House says more needs to be done for Lopez and other political prisoners held by the administration of socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Elections are scheduled for next Sunday.