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Popular Will (
The party was formed in reaction to alleged infringements of individual freedom and
The party says its "fundamental pillars" are progress, democracy, and social action.
Popular Will traces its roots to the Popular Networks (Redes Populares) formed in 2004 as a means of promoting social action and leadership. The year 2007 saw the formation of the so-called “2D” opposition movement, which considered the constitutional referendum called by Hugo Chávez an attempt to impose dictatorship on the country.
This was followed in 2009 by the formation of the Social Action (Accion Social) movement, which brought together “youths, workers, community leaders, business people, and politicians.”
On December 5, 2009, López, along with the other leaders of other political parties,
On January 14, 2011, the
The Popular Will Party played a central role in the protests that took place in Venezuela in early 2014. López was blamed by the government of president
“The government is playing the violence card, and not for the first time,” López claimed. “They're blaming me without any proof....I have a clear conscience because we called for peace.” He added: “We won't retreat and we can't retreat because this is about our future, about our children, about millions of people.” On February 16, López announced he would turn himself in to the Venezuelan government after one more protest. “I haven't committed any crime,” he said. ”If there is a decision to legally throw me in jail I'll submit myself to this persecution.”
In early March 2014, a peaceful protest march in Caracas, organized by the Student Movement (Movimiento Estudiantil) and supported by Popular Will, was dispersed by members of the National Guard (GNB) and National Police (PNB) using tear gas and gunshots. This action prevented the marchers from reaching the headquarters of the national Ombudsman, where they planned to demand the resignation of Gabriela Ramirez for justifying acts of torture and other violations of human rights committed by the government of Nicolás Maduro. At this point López had been in prison for 22 days. Popular Will, in response to this action, stated that Maduro, “in addition to being illegitimate, is a murderer.” Party official Freddy Guevara emphasized that Popular Will believed in a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power, and called on the Venezuelan people to maintain pressure on the government to provide justice and freedom, saying that “the power of the street” must be used “to force the government to uphold the constitution.” He added. “We cannot rest until Leopoldo López is free.”
Since the party became more involved in Venezuela's protest movement, numerous members of Popular Will have been arrested. In March 2018,
On 17 February 2014, “alleged members of military counterintelligence” broke into the headquarters of Popular Will without a search warrant and holding people at gunpoint. In videotapes of the incident that were later made public, armed men are seen threatening people in one room of the headquarters and violently breaking down a door in order to enter another room. Carlos Vecchio, the party’s national political coordinator, reported the incident via Twitter. López, in his own tweet, urged his followers to spread the word about the incident.
On February 18, López delivered a speech in Plaza Brión calling for “a pacific exit” from authoritarian government, “within the constitution but in the streets.” He lamented the loss of independent media in the country and declared that if his imprisonment helped Venezuelans to wake up once and for all and demand change, it would have been worth it. He said he could have left the country, but instead had “stayed to fight for the oppressed people in Venezuela.” He thereupon turned himself in to the National Guard, saying that he was handing himself over to a “corrupt justice” system. On February 20, Supervisory Judge Ralenis Tovar Guillén, issued a pre-trial detention order against López in response to formal charges of “arson of a public building,” “damages to public property,” “instigation to commit a crime,” and “associating for organized crime.”
Human-rights organizations around the world condemned the arrest of López, with
The day after López's arrest, the government issued an arrest warrant for