May 13th, 2010
05:56 PM ET

Venezuelan opposition leader freed from jail until trial

A leading opposition politician in Venezuela who had been jailed after criticizing leftist President Hugo Chavez was freed Thursday until his trial on charges of public instigation to commit a crime and spreading false information.

A conspiracy charge against Oswaldo Alvarez Paz was dropped last week and his release from jail had been anticipated. The other two charges remained, and he will stand trial.

Alvarez Paz, a former governor of Zulia state and a 1993 presidential candidate, was detained in late March, two weeks after saying on the privately owned Globovision TV station that Venezuela has ties to Marxist rebels in Colombia and Spain and has become a base for drug trafficking.

Alvarez Paz's family members and supporters said his arrest was orchestrated by Chavez for political purposes.

Alvarez Paz said Thursday that public opinion had forced the government to release him. His arrest drew widespread attention in Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed its "deep concern" in March about conditions in Venezuela, focusing on Alvarez Paz's arrest.

"It had been a scandal to keep me prisoner," Alvarez Paz said in an interview with Globovision.

Upon his release, he was met by family members and supporters. Standing on a sidewalk, Alvarez Paz held up a white T-shirt that said, "To give an opinion is not a crime."

Alvarez Paz had been held for 51 days at the headquarters of the nation's intelligence service, known as Sebin.

A trial date is not known.

The opposition leader is not allowed to leave the country and cannot make public declarations about his upcoming trial, the state-run ABN news agency reported. He also must appear before a tribunal every 15 days.

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Filed under: Venezuela
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. rik

    Don't you just love Hugo?

    May 13, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ariel Fornari

    Yeah Uncle Hugo! Slam dunk all these yankee lovers, and send them where they belong!

    May 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alejandro Cordova

    Chavez da verguenza – todo lo que hace en nombre de la revolucion bolivariana es absurdo.

    May 15, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ariel Fornari

    Alejandro, dices eso porque eres un vende-patria y un incondicional del TĂ­o Sam. Menos mal que tu especie por fin se enfrenta a su extinciĂłn eventual!

    May 15, 2010 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • JOSE

      VAMOS, vamos a ver, quienes son los vende patria, deben tener verguenza cuando se dice eso, si lo que estan vendiendo la patria son uds mismo,los que dicen, y viven de la revolucion bolivariana, abrir los ojos YA, y vean como el pobre pais se esta cayendo a pedacito, el camisa roja a elejido, ese color, por que todo lo que ve es rojo, y las calles se veran derramada de la sangre de los hermanos. Venezuela es muy rica para verse en una miseria dia tras dia, no hay comida en los abastos, y da mucho miedo caminar por las calles, eso es pura miseria y hambre...

      May 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James

    The only logical conclusion to leftist, communist political leadership is tyranny. That is the only way this type can stay in power while they steal from the populace in the guise of social progress. His record speaks for its self. Economy in the dump, rampant inflation, and inefficient use and waste of natural resources. Chaves is only the latest figure in a world history of failed Marxist philosophy. Chaves has created a climate of fear in Venezuela to anyone who would oppose him. An East German Stasi like atmosphere has been formed where neighbors and secret police spy on each other and report political "crimes". People regularly disapear after they have been exposed as in opposition to Chaves and his government policies.

    May 15, 2010 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. Colombian Thug

    Whre are the snipers at?

    May 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. capnmike

    Where are all the good snipers when you need one?

    May 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. viva chavez

    viva chavez y su revolucion

    May 30, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. viva chavez

    gracias a el los pobres tienen oportunidades de progresar y no como en usa que siempre estan baja el poder de las grandes enpresas y siempre seran exclavos del imperio

    May 30, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. viva chavez

    Thanks to the poor have opportunities to make progress and not as in uses always low are the power of the large enpresas and always will be the Empire exclavos

    May 30, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Magaly

      When I see the feedback from viva chavez I feel very sad. My Country Venezuela was not the best in the world but was one most people from all over the world will look forward to visit and live. My Dad did. Good thing he is gone so he does not have to see how bad things are in the Country he called his own and loved so much until the day he died.
      What Progress are you talking about? is the booming business? or its the striving economy? or the improvements on parks and beaches where we could go and enjoy ourselves without panic each time someone approaches you thinking that you will be robed, or even worst killed???? please tell me. Each time I visit MY COUNTRY (because I was born there and lived there for so many years before like so many we decided that there was nothing for us anymore) I see a Country without law, where the Private Property is destroyed and converted in dumps where the lovely revolution is destroying what took so many years to build. So please explain to me what is so good about what your dear President is doing because I don't see it.
      I wish for all the Chavez supporters to be obligated to leave Venezuela and go to other Countries where there is law and respect to the human rights and where they have to WORK very hard to obtain funds to buy a dream house, a dream car, put their kids through College and be a proud Citizen. Then when they return to Venezuela they will work very hard to immitate what other Countries have for granted where all Citizens are treated the same and where respect to all is a paramount. Maybe then we can have our beautiful Country back!!!

      June 1, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |