Travel ban

Venezuela blocks activist from leaving country, even though she has passport from another country

Human rights activist Lilian Tintori, wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, gestures during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, September 2, 2017. (REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares)

The Venezuelan government imposed a travel ban on Lilian Tintori, a human rights activist and the wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, over the weekend, barring her from leaving the country. Immigration officials seized her Venezuelan passport as she was trying to board a plane bound for Europe, Tintori said on Twitter. Tintori said she was headed Europe for meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to discuss the the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

“They have just banned me from leaving the country,” Tintori posted on Twitter. “What the dictatorship wants is to prevent us from doing a very important international tour.” She also posted a photo on Twitter of herself alongside the ambassadors of Germany, Spain and Italy, whom she said were witnesses to the Venezuelan government’s overreach.

Tintori is in possession of a passport from Italy, her representatives told Women in the World in an email, but Venezuelan authorities have demanded that she may only leave the country using a Venezuelan passport. Tintori was hoping to join Women in the World at the inaugural Canada Summit taking place in Toronto next week, but her representative said that given the setback, there is “no way she’ll be able to make it” to the event.”

Back in August, Tintori posted video of government officials seizing her husband from the couple’s home in the  middle of the night. Venezuela has been in a deepening economic crisis for months as the country’s strongman President Nicolas Maduro as been trying to hold on to power, while many in the country lack access to adequate food and health care.

For her part, Tintori vowed at a press conference that the travel ban will not “turn off my voice.”

And she has support from France’s president. “We are waiting for Lilian Tintori in Europe. The Venezuelan opposition must remain free,” Macron wrote on Twitter.

Read the full story at CNN.

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