The European Parliament just awarded the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2017 to the Venezuelan opposition. Naturally, in the wake of recent events,  you might be asking yourself  “Which opposition?”

Spoiler alert: not the MUD. The formal winners are:

“National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all Political Prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González.”

This recognition might be a signal that the European Union isn’t throwing in the towel on Venezuela just yet. Last week, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, explicitly called the country’s situation “unacceptable” during his speech for the Princesa de Asturias Award.

The Sakharov Prize, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, is awarded to those who defend Human Rights and/or resist oppressive regimes. On three different occasions it has gone to Cuban dissidents (Oswaldo Paya in 2002, the Damas de Blanco movement in 2005, and Guillermo Fariñas in 2010).  

Personally, I think the choice signals awareness of Nicolás Maduro’s deliberate evisceration of democratic institutions and crackdown of civil liberties, most notably the rise in number of political prisoners, including the mayor of my hometown, Alfredo Ramos.

Will this help mend the current split inside the MUD? I doubt it and since the award is not for all of the MUD, it might even intensify it.

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