''I swear to you: freedom,'' yells wife of jailed opposition leader, during a rally for Venezuela's imprisoned opposition figures. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Thousands of Venezuelan opposition sympathizers rallied on Saturday (May 30) in support of opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and former mayor Daniel Ceballos who were jailed last year accused of inciting violent protests against socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Lopez, arrested for leading the protests, called for the rally in a prison-filmed video in which he also announced a hunger strike and issued a set of demands including the release of other anti-government activists. Speaking from a stage mounted in an upscale neighborhood in eastern Caracas, Lopez's wife, Lilian Tintori, encouraged supporters to continue pushing for more openness in the OPEC nation. "I swear to you: freedom. We are going to achieve freedom in Venezuela," said Tintori. Ceballos is being held on charges he helped demonstrators mount blockades in the convulsed border city of San Cristobal. His wife, Patricia de Ceballos, accused the government of holding her imprisoned husband 'hostage.' "It hurts me much to see where my husband, Daniel Ceballos, is. It hurts me that they've kidnapped him in that subhuman place, just like it hurts me that they're holding all of us Venezuelans hostage, that they've limited our rights and our freedoms," she said. Many of the demonstrators were clad in white to symbolize non-violent protest. A similar rally was held in the central city of San Juan de Los Morros, near where Ceballos is imprisoned. The opposition's Democratic Unity coalition had given a lukewarm response to Lopez's call, highlighting the historic divisions among the adversaries of the country's socialist rule that began with late President Hugo Chavez in 1999. President Nicolas Maduro, elected in 2013 to replace Chavez after his death of cancer, has described the two as criminals and says they are responsible for more than 40 deaths that occurred during the 2014 protests.