Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader escapes house arrest, flees to Spain

The mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, 62, greets followers Friday at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia, before embarking to Spain after escaping house arrest in the Venezuelan capital.

Story highlights

  • Ledezma had been under arrest since 2015
  • Venezuela is facing food and medicine shortages

(CNN)The former mayor of Caracas -- who is a staunch opponent of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro -- was welcomed Saturday in Madrid after escaping house arrest.

"I have the support from the Spanish government to remain in Spain as long as necessary, as well as my family who are accompanying me here, my wife Mitzy, and my daughters, who are here at my side," Antonio Ledezma said.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy received Ledezma, a longtime Venezuelan opposition lawmaker, and his wife, Mitzy Capriles, on Saturday at Moncloa Palace.
    Ledezma, 62, was elected mayor of Caracas in 2008. He was arrested in February 2015, after Maduro accused him of involvement in a plot to overthrow the government. He was later released from jail and put under house arrest for health reasons.
    Speaking to journalists after his meeting with Rajoy, Ledezma vowed to continue fighting the Venezuelan President.