This Guardian article stated
Security agents have since seized two opposition leaders from their homes after they called for protests against the vote.
Umm no. Leopoldo Lopez – while already under house arrest -made a video in which he called for military coup. Don’t try this while under house arrest in the UK, where you can get put away for Facebook posts advocating a riot (even if you are not under house arrest at the time).
To be precise, Lopez called on the military to “deactivate plan republica” if the constituent assembly (ANC) vote goes ahead and not to fear any legal repercussions for it..
The name of the army’s security arrangements to protect voting stations was called “plan republica”. Lopez was calling for a military mutiny that would have made chavista voters sitting ducks for opposition thugs if they dared to turn out to vote. Hundreds of voting stations were in fact attacked, police were bombed, and barricades set up to block people from voting. Was that “authoritarian” or do US-backed protest movements have some legitimate authority to violently deny people the right to vote?
A guy like Lopez would never have seen the light of day again after what he did in April of 2002 had he done it in the US or UK. Consider the time that Chelsea Manning spent in jail, who, unlike Lopez, was never violent and merely embarrassed her government, and multiply it by about 10. Same applies to much of the opposition’s core leadership: Capriles, Borges, Ramos who have routinely made appeals to the military to overthrow the government.
And a note to people inclined to be overly trusting of Amnesty International and other well funded NGOs.
In 2015, when Lopez was sentenced inciting violent protests, Amnesty wrote
He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally
Amnesty was never willing to designate Chelsea Manning a “prisoner of conscience” as I explained here.