The 2017-2018 crisis in Venezuela is far from the first time there was popular opposition to the PSUV’s one-party dictatorship of Venezuela. 2014 was the most recent protest cycle before the current one. During the 2014 cycle, the student and dissident organizer Lorent Saleh had fled to Colombia. He was arrested and extradited by the friendly Santos government to Venezuela, where he spent the next four years in a cell at the National Intelligence Service HQ. Saleh was released from solitary confinement on Friday and immediately put on a plane to Madrid, where other Venezuelan exiles waited to give him a hero’s welcome.
#LorentSaleh llega a #España luego de ser desterrado por la Dictadura venezolana. No se le permitió ver la libertad en #Venezuela luego de permanecer preso bajo tierra durante 4 años._Saleh fue detenido en el 2014 por el gobierno colombiano para luego ser deportado a Venezuela donde permaneció privado de libertad en la sede del SEBIN de Plaza Venezuela (mejor conocida como 'La Tumba'), fue torturado numerosas veces, no se le permitió ser examinado por un médico a pesar de estar gravemente enfermo y tuvo dos intentos de suicidio._Solicitará protección del gobierno español como refugiado y será examinado por especialistas por sus problemas de salud._Es importante mencionar que Saleh fue 'liberado' por ordenes de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente casi inmediatamente después del asesinato del concejal #FernandoAlbán. _#13O | #Venezuela | #DerechosHumanos | #CrisisHumanitariaVenezuela
Posted by Adriana Flores Márquez on Saturday, October 13, 2018
Venezuelan dissidents widely claim that this is the regime trying to keep the lid on public anger after the October 8 murder of a Caracas city councilman that the National Intelligence Service covered up to look like a suicide.
“It’s important to mention that Saleh was ‘freed’ by orders of the National Constituent Assembly almost immediately after the assassination of Fernando Albán,” says Adriana Flores Márquez, a heroine living in exile in Argentina, where she still directs Venezuelan dissident operations. Like Saleh, Márquez had to flee in 2014 when the regime began hunting her.
María Oropeza, National Youth Coordinator for Vente Venezuela, has spent years denouncing her friend’s arrest and illegal imprisonment in what Venezuelans call “The Tomb.” Regarding Saleh’s release, Oropeza said this:
Fate has its own ways of working–changing one cell for a wider one, imprisoning your desire to sty in your homeland.
Today, I am happy for Lorent Saleh, although I would have liked to see him embrace his mother. Exile or not, to ask for mercy from tyranny is to be naive.
I know you finally saw the dawn after 4 years and 1 month of unjust imprisonment. Today you can see the night, breathe fresh air, and talk with your fellow citizens and partners in the struggle. Today you’re free in other borders, but fighting intensely as the first day. It won’t be long before you, Villa Fernandez, and all who have emigrated and exiled against their will, can return to this land and begin the function of freedom and prosperity.
Let there be not one more political prisoner. Not one more murdered dissident. Not one more slave. Not one more exile.
From a distance I embrace you and admire you. Here the struggle continues without rest.
Live and be free!
Oropeza has long since been sharing Saleh’s unjust imprisonment. Despite the gross unfairness that the regime has exiled him, the world is better off that a tried and tested libertarian is still alive and still in the fight.
While the Institute celebrates that Lorent Saleh is out of danger, we would like to remind the world of three political prisoners in Cuba: the libertarians Ubaldo Herrera and Yanet Padrón, and the innocent bystander Lianet Guerra, who is the niece of a libertarian organization.
Find out about the special training that Maria and two other libertarians are trying to get, and why YOU should get involved!
First video courtesy of Adriana Flores Márquez. Second video courtesy of María Oropeza and subtitled by the Mises-Mambí Institute.