Venezuelan opposition protests as Brazilian team is sent back

Caracas, (IANS) Venezuela’s opposition revived protests, as a committee of Brazilian senators was stopped from visiting political prisoners, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

They were unable to reach the capital as the route, connecting the airport to Caracas, was blocked.

Moreover, the van carrying the senators was attacked by a group, comprising allegedly of supporters of former president Hugo Chavez.

Running on a tight schedule, the senators decided to return to the airport and fly back to their country.

Opposition party Popular Will’s leader Leopoldo López said on Twitter, the “fear of the regime obstructs Brazilian senators from reaching Caracas and Ramo Verde”, referring to the military prison where he is on a hunger strike for the past 25 days.

The Brazilian committee was accompanied by Lilian Tintori, Patricia Gutierrez and Mitzy Capriles, wives of Leopoldo Lopez, Daniel Ceballos and Antonio Ledezma, respectively, as well as opposition leader Maria Corina Machado and other relatives of the prisoners.

Brazilian Senator Aecio Neves, who led the committee, said they were not provided with the most “minimum safety measures” by the Venezuelan government.

“We will return to Brazil and make a formal protest against how we were received in Venezuela,” Neves told Venezuela’s Union Radio.

He echoed the opposition demand for the Venezuelan government to set a date for the upcoming parliamentary elections and also ensure they were “conducted in a completely transparent manner”.

Lopez’s wife wrote on her Twitter account that “with acts of intimidation and violence this government sheds its mask and shows the consistent violation of human rights in Venezuela”.

After the unsuccessful visit, Neves reported the incident to Brazilian Senate head Renan Calheiros, who asked President Dilma Rousseff’s government to respond to the “hostility” and “intolerance” faced by the committee in Venezuela.

Before leaving for Venezuela, Neves said his visit was aimed at “solidarity with the political prisoners”.

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