Lawmakers take lead to urge action on Venezuela

Some 30 lawmakers voted Monday to ask the central government to study the possibility of offering political asylum to jailed Venezuelan opposition figures.

The motion concerned Leopoldo López, who has been jailed for a year in Caracas, and Antonio Ledezma, Caracas mayor, who was shown on television being hustled off to jail by a security force squad last week.

The pair are opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

The foreign ministry Monday issued a statement that called for dialogue in Venezuela.

Lawmakers were more strident. For example, Johnny Leiva said that thousands of Costa Ricans have expressed their opposition to what happened last week in Venezuela.

Maduro claimed in a speech that Ledezma was part of a plot to kill him and take over the government. Observers in Venezuela say the courts will back the president despite the weakness of evidence.

The Venezuelan socialist economy is in tatters, and Maduro has instituted unpopular measures.

President Luis Guillermo Solís has declined to criticize the Venezuelan government and said over the weekend he did not have enough information on what happened. His political party, the Partido Acción Ciudadana, and the leftist Frente Amplio, voted against the legislative motion that passed with 30 votes. The motion also called for the immediate release of the political prisoners.  Ledezma is a likely presidential candidate.

When Maduro was here for a Latin American summit in late January, he said he feared being assassinated.

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