Venezuela Lider






Leopoldo López is a young Venezuelan politician proposing an alternative to Venezuelans today. Since 2000, López has been the mayor of the Chacao Municipality of Caracas. A Los Angeles Times article describes López as an immensely popular leader of the opposition, as well as a social activist working for "grass-roots judicial reform". [1]

A leading Venezuelan newspaper, El Nacional, named López its 2003 Person of the Year, describing him as one of the most notable leaders of the opposition to Chávez and as the best mayor of the metropolitan area of Caracas.[2]

Leopoldo López was born in Caracas in 1971. López spent his early years studying at the Colegio Santiago de León de Caracas. Between 1989 and 1993, he studied Economics at Kenyon College in Ohio. He subsequently attended Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government where he obtained a Master's degree in Public Policy in 1996.[3] He received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from his Alma Mater, Kenyon College. [4]

López worked as an economic consultant to the Planning Vice-President in Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) between 1996 and 1999, and has served as a professor of Institutional Economy in the Economics Department at UCAB.[3]
López cofounded the Primero Justicia political party . In 2007 he joined Un Nuevo Tiempo, the most voted party among Venezuela's opposition.[5]

Leopoldo López was elected mayor of the Chacao Municipality in July 2000, obtaining 51% of the vote. In October 2004, he was re-elected, obtaining 81% of the vote. In 2006, He volunteered to aid Manuel Rosales' 2006 campaign for the presidency of Venezuela.[6] Today Lopez enjoys more than 90% of approval ratings as Mayor of one of Caracas´five Municipalities.
As a leader of the opposition to Chávez, López has experienced several violent attacks: he has been shot at, held hostage in February 2006 by armed thugs at a university where he was speaking, and in March 2006, his bodyguard was shot six times and killed as he sat in the passenger seat normally occupied by López. [1]

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, López says "his real offense is that he poses an electoral threat as he builds a social democratic alternative to the socialist, anti-American 'Bolivarian Revolution'."[1] According to the Times article, Chávez critics say all government dissidents are being targeted, but "Lopez seems to be the object of a full-out campaign".[1] The United States Department of State mentioned actions taken against López by the Venezuelan government in its annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices.[7]

According to the Venezuelan Controller General, López received a grant to his former party, Justice First, from PDVSA while working in this company. The grant was given by his mother, Antonieta Mendoza de López, who was the manager of public affairs of PDVSA. Both were sanctioned with a prohibition of holding public jobs for three years. López will start this sanction as soon as his term as mayor ends.[8][9]


  1. Kraul, Chris. A Lightning Rod for Venezuela's Political Strife. Los Angeles Times (19 July 2006). Online here.
  2. Pereira, Javier. Personaje del año. El Nacional Accessed 23 September 2006. (Spanish)
  3. LEOPOLDO LÓPEZ. Accessed 24 September 2006. (Spanish)
  4. Kenion College — Honors day. Accessed 30 August 2007.
  5. Un Nuevo Tiempo juramentó nueva comisión política. Venevisión (2007-03-03). Retrieved on 2007-03-04.(Spanish)
  6. Dirigentes de PJ recorrieron el Oeste de Caracas en campaña por Manuel Rosales. Globovisión (27 August 2006). (Spanish)
  7. U.S. State Department (2005). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Venezuela. (8 March 2006).
  8. El Tiempo. Contraloría inhabilitó al alcalde Leopoldo López. (13 June 2006). Accessed 13 November 2006.(Spanish)
  9. El Universal. Contraloría inhabilita por tres años a Leopoldo López para las funciones públicas. (12 June 2006). Accessed 14 November 2006.(Spanish)

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