CNN Editorial Research
Here’s a look at the life of Leopoldo López, a Venezuelan opposition leader who was imprisoned on charges of inciting anti-government protests.
Birth date: April 29, 1971
Birth place: Caracas, Venezuela
Birth name: Leopoldo Eduardo López Mendoza
Father: Leopoldo López Gil, businessman and member of the European Parliament
Mother: Antonieta Mendoza de López, a media executive
Marriage: Lilian Tintori (2007-present)
Children: Federica Antonieta, Leopoldo Santiago and Manuela Rafaela
Education: Kenyon College, B.A., Sociology, 1993; Harvard University, M.P.P., Public Policy, 1996
He’s the great-great grandson of Venezuela’s first president, Cristóbal Mendoza.
Is a descendent of South American liberator Simon Bólívar.
Was reelected mayor of Chacao with 81% of the vote and ended the term with a 92% approval rating.
1996-1999 – Assistant to the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser for Petróleos de Venezuela S.A.
2000-2001 – Works as a professor of economics at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello.
2000-2008 – Serves two four-year terms as mayor of Chacao, a district of Caracas.
2008 – The government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez bans López from running for public office, accusing him of corruption and misuse of public funds. Chavez’s government banned hundreds of other politicians, many of whom were from parties opposed to Chavez.
2009 – Helps launch a new political party called the Voluntad Popular, or the Popular Will. The party mission is to overcome poverty and to secure a democracy where all Venezuelans have rights.
September 16, 2011 – The Inter-American Court of Human Rights announces its ruling that López’s rights were violated when he was banned from running for office.
October 17, 2011 – Venezuela’s Supreme Court rejects the ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, upholding the ban on López running for office. A day later, López vows to run for president despite the court’s ruling.
January 24, 2012 – López withdraws from the presidential election and backs opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski.
February 13, 2014 – After at least three people are killed during an anti-government protest in Caracas, a Venezuelan court issues an arrest warrant for Lopez. Authorities claim he is responsible for the violence. He is charged with conspiracy, murder and terrorism.
February 18, 2014 – López turns himself in.
February 19-20, 2014 – A hearing to charge López takes place. Prosecutors drop the charges of murder and terrorism.
April 4, 2014 – Venezuela’s attorney general announces that López has been formally charged with public incitement, property damage, arson and conspiracy. Activists hold a protest in Caracas to declare López’s innocence.
September 10, 2015 – Is convicted and sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison. The conviction sparks protests.
August 1, 2017 – Venezuelan authorities take López from his home after opposing a controversial election that critics say will let President Nicolás Maduro illegitimately consolidate power. Government officials say López violated the terms of his house arrest and was planning to flee. López’s attorney denies those accusations.
August 5, 2017 – López returns to house arrest. “They just brought Leopoldo home. We are working with more conviction and more firmly in order to find peace and freedom for Venezuela!,” his wife Lilian Tintori tweets.
September 2, 2017 – López’s wife says she was prevented from leaving the country for Europe by immigration officials. Tintori says she was going to Europe to meet with European leaders to talk about the crisis in Venezuela.
September 8, 2017 – López’s mother, Antonieta de Lopez, meets with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in Tintori’s place.
April 30, 2019 – Appears in a video with the leader of Venezuela’s opposition, Juan Guaidó, during an address in Caracas. López says he was freed from house arrest by the armed movement.
May 2, 2019 – Venezuela’s Supreme Court issues an arrest warrant for López, saying he violated his 2017 court-ordered house arrest.
October 2020 – Leaves the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, to reunite with his family in Spain. López had been staying at the Spanish embassy since April 30, 2019.
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