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CARACAS, Friday September 16, 2011 | Update
 
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Human Rights | He is running for the opposition primaries
López: "Political bans have ended today"

"I have regained my rights and now I vow not to rest until all Venezuelans enjoy equal rights," were López's first words before his followers

"This is a ruling with a hemispheric impact, with an influence in similar cases," former Chacao municipality mayor Leopoldo López stated (Handout photo)
  EL UNIVERSAL
Friday September 16, 2011  09:56 PM


Leopoldo López, the former mayor of the municipality of Chacao and leader of opposition Voluntad Popular political party, said on Friday night that he would not rest until all Venezuelans enjoy equal rights.

His remarks came during his first public appearance after the publication of a ruling issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR Court) that lifted a political ban meted out to López three years ago by the Venezuelan Comptroller General Office.

"I have regained my rights and now I vow not to rest until all Venezuelans enjoy equal rights," were López's first words before his followers.

He highlighted the importance of the ruling ordering the immediate reinstatement of his political rights.

"Today, the IACHR Court finally put an end to political disqualifications... It has put an end to that sword of Damocles the (Venezuelan) ruling party has used in the last four years to sweep away any uncomfortable political leaders, to get rid of a number of leaders who have people's support and whom they could not defeat in an election battle, leaders like us, leaders they fear."

For López, the decision is not only a personal triumph, but it also represents a victory for other 800 people, a boost for Venezuelan and Latin American democracies.

"There is no way to justify the failure to comply with this ruling. I invite you to read the Constitution; it is a matter of constitutional status (...) This decision has no room for interpretation," López stressed.

"This is a ruling with a hemispheric impact, with an influence in similar cases in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Costa Rica (...) But above all, this a strong binding decision for the Venezuelan State under the agreements signed and endorsed in our Constitution pursuant to Articles 23 and 31 (...) This is a decision that democrats will respect and comply with determination and courage, in order to preserve the rights millions of Venezuelans have to choose freely," he added.

López further announced that he is running for the opposition primaries and vowed to become the opposition presidential candidate that is to face President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela's presidential election in October 2012.

"Today, I would like to tell all Venezuelans: Keep dreaming of the Venezuela you wish (...) Our ultimate goal is not only to defeat a poor administration, but also to achieve the Best Possible Venezuela."

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The end of a cycle

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brazil on March 13 to demand the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, carrying banners expressing anger at bribery scandals and economic woes. A banner read "We don't want a new Venezuela in Brazil."

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