Venezuela seizes two key anti-Maduro opposition leaders after controversial vote

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez seized by secret police
(Image credit: Leopoldo Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

Early Tuesday, Venezuela's intelligence service, Sebin, raided the homes of two leading opposition leaders, Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, and took them away, according to statements and video posted online by López's wife and Ledezma's daughter. Both men were under house arrest for their role in 2014 anti-government protests, and they were presumably re-arrested over recent protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, including one on Sunday in which at least 10 people were killed. Both López, the 46-year-old founder of the People's Will party (pictured), and Ledezma, a 62-year-old former Caracas mayor, made recent videos encouraging protest.

Maduro held a vote on Sunday to create a powerful constitutional assembly with the authority to rewrite the constitution in his favor, bar gubernatorial candidates, and disband any branch of government deemed insufficiently loyal, likely starting with the opposition-controlled legislature, the National Assembly. The National Electoral Council said the new assembly was approved amid a robust turnout of 8.1 million people, despite the opposition boycott, Maduro's terrible poll numbers, and Venezuela's terrible economy and food shortages; an outside exit poll put voter turnout at 3.6 million. The U.S., Europe, and most Latin American countries called the vote a sham, and the U.S. slapped sanctions on Maduro.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.