Lilian Tintori, the wife of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, took up her husband’s cause in a U.S. media tour this week.
“I bring Venezuela’s message– the message of Venezuelan women who are desperate, and who cannot handle any more,” she told Fusion Live’s Mariana Atencio in her first sit-down interview in English.
The Venezuelan government accused Lopez of inciting terrorism and being responsible for the death of three people during an opposition rally he and student leaders called for in Caracas on Feb. 12. After the protest turned deadly, Lopez made a YouTube video with Tintori stating he would turn himself in to the authorities.
He spent six days in hiding until he made the decision to turn himself in.
Tintori recalled the last moments when she stood beside her husband before he was arrested on Feb. 18.
“I hugged him. I told him I stood with him and will always support him because that is marriage. A team through the good and the bad,” Tintori said. “He looked in my eyes and said ‘Lilian – take care of our children.'”
Since her husband was imprisoned, the 36-year-old has regularly taken her two young children–4-year old Manuela and 1-year old Leopoldo Santiago–to visit their father in his cell at Ramo Verde prison.
She admits it’s been difficult, but she doesn’t regret the decision they made together.
“I always imagined it, but not as difficult as we are going through. But Leopoldo is a fighter, he is a man committed to his country, to every Venezuelan,” Tintori said. “When Leopoldo proposed, he asked me two questions. First he asked me to marry him. And I was going to say yes to him when he said, ‘Don’t answer me. I want you to answer the second question. The second question is do you want to be married to Venezuela?’ And I said yes.”
Read more about what Tintori had to say here.