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Venezuelan presidential contender cleared of corruption

Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 02:09

Sept. 17 - Leopoldo Lopez readies his bid for the presidency after an international court finds him not guilty of corruption. Jessica Gray reports.

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An exonerated Leopoldo Lopez greets his cheering supporters at a rally in Caracas. The 40-year-old opposition leader was cleared of corruption charges by an international court, paving the way for his presidential bid against Hugo Chavez. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LEOPOLDO LOPEZ, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATE, SAYING: "Today, today, as you say, I'm cleared to run! I've recovered after a fight. I've recovered my political rights and today, before you, I want to say that, with my political rights, I commit that, from this moment on, I shall work tirelessly to construct a Venezuela where all rights are for all the people." But he is not out of the woods yet. Venezuelan officials say the decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights was political and will be reviewed by the nation's Supreme Court. The Harvard-educated Lopez made his name as the mayor of a wealthy district in the capital, but was banned from politics in 2008 on charges of corruption along with several other politicians. He says according to Venezuela's constitution, the verdit stands allowing him to run in the 2012 elections. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LEOPOLDO LOPEZ, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATE, SAYING: "I want to tell you that there is no episode, there are no means that justifies not complying with this decision and I invite them to read the constitution. Article 23, Article 31 are very clear and establish that this decision made by the International Court of Human Rights is a decision supported by the constitution." The opposition is set to choose a single candidate in hopes of unseating the wildly popular Chavez in next October's elections. Jessica Gray, Reuters

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Venezuelan presidential contender cleared of corruption

Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 02:09