U.S. President Donald Trump invited Liliana Tintori, wife of disgraced Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, to the White House Wednesday.
Trump used the visit to call for the release of Lopez who has been in prison since 2015 for inciting violence in the deadly “guarimbas ” protests that led to the deaths of 43 people.
Calling Lopez a “political prisoner,” Trump took to Twitter to demand he be let “out of prison immediately.”
Lopez was sentenced to 14 years for his involvement in planning and promoting the violent blockades which injured hundreds and caused billions in damage to public buildings and infrastructure.
Lopez and his wife Tintori have been outspoken opponents of President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution.
Since her husband’s imprisonment, Tintori has embarked on an international campaign to smear the government of Maduro. Lopez meanwhile has become one of the most visible faces of the Venezuelan opposition, selling himself as a political prisoner despite his long and sordid history in Venezuelan politics.
Tintori thanked Trump for “standing with the Venezuelan people” on Twitter. In her following tweets, she lashed out at the Venezuelan government, claiming the country was a “dictatorship and the people have no food or medicine.”
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez has condemned Tintori’s visit to the White House as “an act of U.S. aggression and intervention.”
Writing on Twitter, the foreign minister accused Trump of “supporting the head of the bloody and unconstitutional acts that happened in 2014 against the peace and stability of Venezuela.”
“It is sad that the Miami mafias and lobbies in complicity with the violent Venezuelan opposition impose Donald Tump’s policies against Venezuela,” she added.
Rodriguez compared Trump to Maduro, declaring “while President Maduro proposes a new era of respectful relations, Trump consolidates himself as the head of violent actions.”
The visit comes amid increasingly hostile rhetoric from Trump’s administration against the Venezuelan government. Since his inauguration, Trump has put Vice President Tareck El Aissami on a sanctions list while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has hinted at U.S. support for regime change in Venezuela.
This post originally ran on teleSUR