Forum 2000 International Advisory Board Calls for the Release of Leopoldo López

The International Advisory Board of the Forum 2000 Foundation calls for the release of Leopoldo López, Venezuelan economist, politician and opposition leader.

Mr. López was arrested on February 18, 2014 after a series of demonstrations around the country that criticized the government of President Nicolás Maduro for failing to tackle inflation, crime and the shortage of staple goods. He is currently held in the Center of Military Defendants (Cenapromil), located in Los Teques, the capital city of central Miranda state. The tribunal charges him with inciting protests.

The International Advisory Board of the Forum 2000 Foundation considers the arrest against Mr. López to be arbitrary as it breaches his civil and political rights. We hold Mr. López to have purely exercised his right to freedom of expression and association during the protests in his homeland and advocated for peace and dialogue. We reiterate our firm conviction that such rights and guarantees should not be trampled on and we urge the Venezuelan authorities to abide by international law and safeguard the civil and political rights of Mr. López. We reaffirm our commitment to monitor the further developments in Venezuela.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Prince Hassan bin Talal

Frederik Willem de Klerk

Ivan M. Havel

Adam Michnik

Šimon Pánek

Yohei Sasakawa

The International Advisory Board of the Forum 2000 Foundation comprises a group of respected figures from different cultures, traditions, and religious affiliations, who are united by their belief in democracy, the universality of human rights, and in a lively and vibrant civil society, and committed to the legacy of Václav Havel. The members of the Board are global ambassadors for the foundation and provide it with advice and recommendations concerning the subjects and projects that Forum 2000 devotes itself to.

Leopoldo López participated in the annual Forum 2000 Conference “Societies in Transition” held in Prague in September 2013. He stressed the need to forestall clashes by seeking unifying and common ideas based in a moral setting. Mr. López has long been active in Venezuelan politics and public life and defends his stance as a pacifist, denying accusations presented by the Venezuelan authorities.