Trump urges Venezuelan government to release 'political prisoner' Lopez

Leopoldo Lopez is serving a 14-year prison term over his role in 2014 protests.

February 16, 2017, 1:34 AM

— -- President Trump on Wednesday evening called on the Venezuelan government to release imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who is serving a 14-year sentence for allegations that he incited anti-government violence during protests in 2014.

Tweeting a picture of himself alongside Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Lopez's wife Lilian Tintori, the president wrote that Venezuela should "immediately" release "political prisoner" Leopoldo Lopez.

The president and the first lady later hosted Rubio along with his wife Jeanette at the White House for dinner.

Rubio has advocated for a forceful U.S. foreign policy against the current Venezuelan government of President Nicholas Maduro, who launched a crackdown amid civil unrest in 2014.

Lopez, a popular opposition politician, had called for peaceful protests during that wave of unrest but was arrested by the government under accusations that he supported violence.

The Trump administration on Monday slapped sanctions against Venezuela's vice president over drug trafficking charges.

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