Edmundo González
Venezuelan opposition candidate Edmundo González AFP

The Venezuelan opposition denounced that three political activists were unlawfully detained during the past days following their involvement in a rally held by presidential candidate Edmundo González Urrutia in the state of La Guaira.

"I want to send a message of solidarity to the three young men detained for standing with us during the Maiquetía rally," said González, referring to the city located in La Guaira. "They are missing since Friday. We've been trying to find out where they are, but as it usually happens in these cases, security forces deflect responsibility," he added.

The names of the activists detained are Juan Iriarte, Luis López and Jean Carlos Rivas. Top opposition leader María Corina Machado, who is campaigning alongside González Urrutia after being banned from competing herself, joined the calls.

"Change cannot be stopped and none of our fellow companions will be left behind," she said. There was still no information available regarding the detainees on Monday, according to outlet Infobae.

"This is cruelty. They are Venezuelans giving their all to set their country free. It's criminal, pure evil and shows all that the regime has left is violence against its own citizens. But far from intimidating us, what I'm seeing in Venezuela every day is that this gives us more reasons to fight and organize ahead of the July 28 elections. My solidarity with Jean Carlos, Luis, Juan and their families," added Machado in a publication on X.

The outlet detailed that over a dozen activists have been unlawfully detained so far this year. Opposition figures highlighted that the practice has intensified over the past months and that the scope of targeted people is getting increasingly wider. Different reports over the past weeks recalled events where restaurants and hotels were shut down for receiving opposition figures traveling for rallies.

The Venezuelan political landscape is increasingly on its toes as the election date is less than a month and a half away. The process' transparency is still uncertain as the presence of oversight missions is not confirmed, and the government-friendly electoral body recently withdrew such an invitation to the European Union.

The G7 criticized the decision last Friday, saying it jeopardizes the opposition's chances of a fair process. The country members expressed their "deep concern about the opposition's rights within the electoral process and the decision to withdraw the invitation for an electoral oversight mission from the EU."

The group, which is formed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Japan and Canada, also requested the country conduct "competitive and inclusive elections" and to "stop harassing opposition members and release all political prisoners."

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