The details of Antonio Ledezma’s escape belong more to an action movie than to the life of a public servant. Maybe for people outside of Venezuela it’s hard to image a former mayor running and hiding at the border with Colombia, but after being imprisoned for over two years, it probably was the happiest ending, one he thought he’d never get.

From Madrid, he went over the details. He spent days studying the moves of his guards. On the day of the escape, Thursday, November 16th, the mandatory picture of him in house arrest was taken at 7:10 a.m. He went jogging with two guards and, at 8:30 in the morning, he was already in a car with three guys and a “very brave woman.” The journey would take 22 hours and 30 security checkpoints.

It wasn’t over until the next morning, at 6:30 a.m., when he reached the border. A woman recognized him but a soldier told him to “go and keep on fighting.” Once abroad, he received a call from president Santos, took a private plane to Bogotá and caught a commercial flight to Madrid, with his family.

Ledezma is far from being the only Venezuelan mayor forced into exile. Just months earlier, the mayor of El Hatillo, David Smolansky, fled to Brazil after the Supreme Tribunal ordered his detention. Ramón Muchacho, mayor of Chacao, also left Venezuela around the same time and, even with an arrest warrant with his name on it and no passport, he got to the U.S.

“We took the nontraditional way out”, he said to CNN.

“I feel like they took a part of my life but I am lucky to be alive and free” Muchacho said to Univisión.

Gustavo Marcano also escaped from Venezuela. After his stint as mayor of Lecherías, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail and decided to flee. “We took the nontraditional way out,” he said to CNN, already in the U.S., and he remained mysterious about the escape itself. After being accused by the government of supporting hooliganism in this year’s protests, Marcano moved from one place to another, trying to baffle the police, hiding with diplomats while the SEBIN was on his trail. A sadder story happened to the mayor of Campo Elías, Omar Lares, who realized the danger he was in during a police raid to his office, on July 30th. When the state agents didn’t find him, “they went for my son, a Colombian citizen. They wanted to swap him for me.”

Lares crossed the Simón Bolívar International Bridge to Colombia, where he remains while his son is detained. He has no money for a work visa and now lives with a friend, dreaming of going back to Mérida. He has seen many of his countrymen cross the border, some for food, others for a new life. For now, he just wants a job, a house and his son back with him.

“I hope he’s released” he laments. “He didn’t do anything. His only crime is being my kid.”

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11 COMMENTS

  1. There is no government left. This is a strong arm regime. No constitution. No supreme court. No representation. No legislative body. Just a corrupt regime. There can be no dialogue. No fair elections. Venezuela is slowly being enslaved to serve their new lords. There are not many solutions left. The lords of the kingdom are not going to step down. You think it can’t get worse? Rebel now! Overthrow is the only just course of action.

  2. I see Warner Jiménez of Maturin pictured, but not mentioned in the article.

    After the regime raided his offices, “looked at the books”, and then said they’d file corruption charges against him, he disappeared. IIRC, he might have been in Trinidad at the time and just didn’t return. Not sure where he is today.

    My step daughter had worked extensively for his campaign and knew him very well. When I finally got the chance to speak with her face-to-face about the investigation, I asked about the presumed evidence of corruption they’d found in his books. She smiled and said, “yeah, there was stuff there to find”….and she’s a radical anti-chavista so I trust her opinion.

    Now, if it’s true that Warner was engaged in overt monkey business so soon after taking office (and with a chavista governor overlord), he must not be a very bright guy.

          • That´s why there is never going to be full disclosure of what companies received preferential dollar (people still think only chavistas did , not true honest oposition businessmen LOL) and which people are associated with Odebrecth, chinese funds and other such scandals.

            Because its everyone. All mudecos have been eating the same pie that bolichicos are having.

            They have their mansions abroad and their off shore accounts in fiscal paradises, they travel constantly, their receive their groceries via air carry from Miami and their kids live abroad like saudi princes and princesses and study in fancy colleges.

            El que tiene rabo de paja no prende candelas. If Maduro tumbles they ALL tumble.

            Politics in Venezuela is a mexican standoff where everyone is corrupt and no one can fire a shot without implicating themselves. The real status quo is just one big mobster organization , not two sides against each other.

            Even the useful tools of the middle class have been drinking from that cadivi/ dicom / cupitos tit since it began, all the while sporting their capriles tricolor cap. Chavez knew how to keep them in check ( When asked they will always say is those niches in the barrios who kiss the state´s ass for subsidies, not them, the free market champions, all the while furiously hitting f5 in the VIT page or the dicom auction to see if they got a few dollars assigned)

    • With all due respect, thinking that corruption is only in the chavista arena is wrong. The sad true is that most of them dream to become the new maduro. The main difference is that the chavista side openly works for their international masters (cuba, china) and they are letting them to sack the richness of the country while the country starves.

      Likewise, there is not much difference between any psuv governor and the new opposition governors. Actually, most of those “leaders” easily could be part of psuv if they have the opportunity to be “donde haiga”. That’s why most of them are jumping from one party to another.

      The country tend to forget that corruption was spread out among politicians back in the nineties. And much of the opposition leadership nowadays are formed by the same people or their dolphins. The primarias of two months ago was a flashback of the nineties, the dinosaurs showed up to grab a piece of the cake. Incredible, the responsible to bring them back, HRA, is now blaming the abstention as the reason his dinosaurs lost the election.

      Don’t fool yourself, bolichicos and odebrecht will be doing their tricks in a government presided by HRA.

      And btw, this is the reason it’s so hard to remove psuv from power, most opposition leaders are very cheap.

      • Venezuela has corruption problems (like a lot other places) for entire history – it just more today – after the “Coke” was declared king,

      • Venezuela’s first independence government over two centuries ago spent away the whoke yearly budget in a couple of months with parties, salaries etc. Actually, I can go into details on corruption scandals from 1510 onwards. It is just much worse now

        • Based your name. I would expect you attempt try figure how the universe is evolving (and to sneak in Tyco Brahe records) instead of trying to understand how Venezuela is evolving – that is loosing battle. You have better chance of trying to figure what “dark energy” is (73% percent of the energy in universe – some call it “entropy”), than trying to figure out Venezuela (and most of live here on the earth)

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