Who is Leopoldo López, the newly freed opposition leader behind Venezuela’s uprising? By Marco Aponte-Moreno for the Conversation 5/2/19

Venezuelan Crisis

Under President Maduro, who took office in 2013, Venezuela’s economy has faltered, then collapsed. Food, medicine and electricity are scarce. Maduro has refused to budge, claiming the country’s economic troubles and popular unrest are a U.S. plot against him. López, a former mayor and presidential candidate, was a leading figure in the powerful protest movement against Maduro that began in 2014.

After one major anti-Maduro march in Caracas grew violent, the popular politician was charged with “arson and criminal incitement.” The moment López waded through crying supporters to turn himself into police on May 18, 2014, he became the face of Venezuela’s fight for freedom and democracy.

Supporters saw him as a martyr who confronted the dictatorship rather than going into exile, as so many Venezuelan dissidents have. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison. After three years, the Maduro government in 2017 conceded to intense political pressure and released López to house arrest in the swanky Los Palos Grandes neighborhood. López, caged, was the embodiment of Venezuela’s vanquished opposition.

Then, three months ago, Juan Guaidó reinvigorated the resistance movement by waging a full frontal assault on Maduro. And López – apparently freed from house arrest by the soldiers guarding his home who were acting on Guaidó’s orders – has rejoined the resistance.

Then, three months ago, Juan Guaidó reinvigorated the resistance movement by waging a full frontal assault on Maduro. And López – apparently freed from house arrest by the soldiers guarding his home who were acting on Guaidó’s orders – has rejoined the resistance. Seeing Leopoldo López standing with Guaidó on that video, as a free man, openly calling for an uprising, was a potent signal for Venezuelans after years of bloody protest and multiple thwarted coup attempts. The outcome of Guaidó’s effort to oust Maduro is uncertain. But whenever democracy is restored in Venezuela, López will surely be a presidential candidate to watch.

Venice Biennale: Is exhibiting tragic migrant ship distasteful? By BBC 5/16/19

Migrants

How people interact with the boat has appeared to alarm observers. A tweet showing a cafe next to the boat is described as “peak art world” by Martin Herbert. Matthew Mpoke Bigg from the UN refugee agency points out that people were “sipping aperitifs at a nearby cafe in the sunshine, some apparently ignorant of the horror of what happened there”.

Calling it the “most troubling” exhibit at the Biennale, Cristina Ruiz in the Art Newspaper gives an explanation why art lovers may not be acting in the sombre way some might expect.

“Art can and should deal with the most pressing issues of our time and Büchel's boat would easily be the most important inclusion in [the] Biennale if it were not for the fact that Büchel has chosen to provide no labels or signs near the rusting vessel.”

An exclusive Interview with Abigail Mallia, Director of ‘Limestone Cowboy’ featured at 2019 Panorama Europe at MOMI, 5/8/19

2019 Panorama Europe
Can you tell us about your artistic influences and the journey to get your film to 2019 European Panorama?

My artistic influences vary, from Sorrentino's La Grande Bellezza, one of my favorite films, to Tarantino, Danny Boyle and Scorsese. I love a story well told, and great character studies so that is what I mostly look for in a film, and what would be most influential to me. Laura Falzon from the Malta Arts Council was instrumental in getting the film to European Panorama. We were invited by the Malta Film Commission to represent Malta, and we were very happy to do so.

Where can interested parties get information on upcoming screenings?

Here is our Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/ LimestoneCowboyMalta/

At the moment, we are focusing on the local launch here in Malta, but we are looking forward to screening the film in as many places as possible.



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