Venezuela's President-elect Nicolas Maduro gestures as Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), reads a certificate confirming him as winner of Sunday's election, in Caracas, April 15, 2013. The day after Venezuela's election board declared acting President Maduro winner of Sunday's presidential vote by a tight margin, rival candidate Henrique Capriles insisted the opposition's own count showed he was the victor and accused the government of conspiring to hide the truth to remain in power.    REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
VENEZUELA

Did Venezuela’s New Leader Just Order the Arrest of His Political Rivals?

If the tweets of an opposition leader in Venezuela are to be believed, newly elected president Nicolas Maduro is beginning his term in power with a heavy hand.

“People’s Will” party leader Leopoldo Lopez tweeted last night that arrest warrants have been issued for himself and the man he endorsed, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. Capriles demanded a recount after Sunday’s election which saw Chavez protégé Maduro emerge victorious — but only by the narrow margin of about 230,000 votes. The close results surprised some observers, as Maduro had double-digit leads in the polls heading into voting day.

Venezuela's President-elect Nicolas Maduro gestures as Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), reads a certificate confirming him as winner of Sunday's election, in Caracas, April 15, 2013. The day after Venezuela's election board declared acting President Maduro winner of Sunday's presidential vote by a tight margin, rival candidate Henrique Capriles insisted the opposition's own count showed he was the victor and accused the government of conspiring to hide the truth to remain in power.    REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Venezuela's President-elect Maduro gestures as Lucena, president of CNE, reads a certificate confirming him as winner of Sunday's election, in Caracas. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Due to widespread reporting of problems at polling stations and possible counting errors, Capriles asked for a recount. Violent protests followed the election, resulting in at least 135 arrests and 60 injuries just on Monday.

Regional media have picked up the story in Spanish and report that the warrants are for “the instigation to commit crimes.” The authorities may be trying to tie the post-election unrest to Capriles and Lopez, since the two are encouraging the general public to contest the results. Capriles called off a protest scheduled for today, fearing “rivals were plotting to infiltrate the rally to trigger violence.”

The drama is playing out across social media, with Capriles, Lopez, and Maduro-supporting Venezuelan leaders posting their call to arms on Twitter.

Lopez tweeted a photo of the alleged arrest warrant, saying “Here is the signed order I was sent”:

The second tweet reads, “Not a rumor! My sources confirm to me orders are issued against me and @hcapriles Complain to the country and the world that this is persecution!”

In English: “Last night they wanted to order armed groups to put on our t-shirts and generate violence to later blame us. The orders were signed!”

Yesterday, the speaker of the Venezuelan Congress tweeted that Capriles is a “fascist” and requested that the National Assembly “initiatie a criminal investigation that Capriles generated violence in the country.”

Under the relevant Articles 285 and 292 of the Venezuelan Penal Code, Capriles and Lopez could face 3 to 6 years in prison if convicted.

It’s not the first time Capriles, a long time outspoken critic of Hugo Chavez, has been threatened with jail. An arrest warrant was issued in 2004 for his participation in 2002 protests that also turned violent.

Respond Now
Activists of the Right Sector movement and their supporters gather outside the parliament building to demand the immediate resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, in Kiev March 27, 2014. A prominent Ukrainian far-right activist, part of a hard-line nationalist movement that played a leading role in the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, was shot dead by police overnight, authorities said on March 25. The Interior Ministry said Oleksander Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bily, was killed by officers of the 'Sokol' special unit as he tried to escape from a cafe in the western Ukrainian region of Rivne. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3IWHV
UKRAINE

Organizing a Right-Wing Ukrainian Militia? There’s an App for That

Rachael Levy
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila sit in front of the Taj Mahal while touring city of Agra October 4, 2000. Building on the first day of a visit aimed at rekindling Soviet-era amity, Putin told India's parliament that ties with New Delhi would remain a key element of Moscow's foreign policy. - RTXK1TW
RUSSIA

Meet the Putins

Vocativ Staff
Shoppers walk past an advertising billboard for shoes in the central business district (CBD) of Beijing November 3, 2008. A measure of Chinese manufacturing activity showed factory output shrank sharply in October in the face of waning orders, while officials pledged further steps to boost domestic demand to keep the economy from slowing too much. Capital controls and the relative conservatism of China's banks have largely insulated the world's fourth-largest economy from direct hits from the global financial crisis, but its reliance on exports to the United States and Europe makes it vulnerable to a drop-off in Western demand.    REUTERS/David Gray    (CHINA) - RTXA6ZX
INDUSTRY

New Strike Breaks Out at China Factory That Michael Jordan Made Famous

Versha Sharma
Snoop Fancy
CELEBRITY

Living a Snoop Dogg-Curated Life

Emily Levy
LOVE HOTEL POSTER 6
SOCIETY

Brazil’s By-The-Hour Love Hotels

Ramon Iriarte
Lionel Gonzalez (16) dreams of crossing the border and reunite with his family in Denver, Colorado. In the background dowtown El Paso
MEXICO

Teens Caught in Cartels’ Trafficking Crossfire

Jan-Albert Hootsen
Ana Paula Maciel Playboy 05
BRAZIL

Greenpeace’s Brazilian Playboy Jailbird

Mac Margolis
NASA Selfies 01
SCIENCE

NASA Spaces Out Its Social Media Orbit

Emily Levy
Join the Fray
Grounded! Teen Girl Exiled by Virginia Parents to Siberia