Newly jailed Venezuelan opposition leader is cut off from family, whereabouts unknown

fox newsThe lawyer for one of Venezuela’s most prominent opposition leaders, who was dragged in his pajamas from his home on Tuesday in a police raid, says that the Maduro administration has refused to tell him where his client is or allow him to speak with him.

Antonio Ledezma, the former mayor of a Caracas district, was first arrested in 2015 when President Nicolas Maduro accused him of scheming – with the knowledge of the United States — to overthrow his government. He later was placed under house arrest pending his trial.

Omar Estacio, Ledezma’s attorney, told Fox News in an interview from Caracas that the former mayor has been cut off from his family and his lawyers. His family and lawyer say the government’s arrest and detention of Ledezma with no information about his whereabouts amounts to nothing less than “a kidnapping.” …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.