December 22, 2014
From jail, Venezuela protest leader urges resistance
Venezuela's jailed protest leader urged supporters to keep demonstrating peacefully against President Nicolas Maduro despite violence that has killed at least six people and rocked the OPEC member nation.
"I'm fine, I ask you not to give up, I won't," Leopoldo Lopez told his followers in a handwritten note passed to his wife at Caracas' Ramo Verde prison then posted on the Internet.
The 42-year-old Lopez, a Harvard-educated economist and one of the few surviving relatives of Venezuelan independence hero Simon Bolivar, spearheaded protests against the government that began at the start of February.
He surrendered to the military this week after an arrest warrant was issued accusing him of instigating the violence.
Once again, the worst trouble today appeared to be in the western border town of San Cristobal, which residents are calling a "war zone," with running battles between students and security forces on barricaded streets for days.
Venezuela's military has moved into the town in force, residents say, with helicopters and planes flying overhead.
There was also trouble in Merida, another Andean town, and protesters blocked a few streets again in Caracas on Friday.
Maduro has criticized CNN's coverage of the unrest, and the US-based network said its reporters' credentials had been revoked. Information Ministry officials did not confirm that, saying CNN had been invited to a Maduro news conference later today.