The Americas

Venezuela frees jailed activists, ex-presidential candidate

  • FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2006 file photo, Venezuelan opposition leader Manuel Rosales gives a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela’s government freed Rosales from jail before dawn on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016. The former governor of Zulia state who ran for president in 2006 was jailed in October 2015 on charges of illicit enrichment upon returning to Venezuela from exile in Peru. (AP Photo/Gregorio Marrero, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2006 file photo, Venezuelan opposition leader Manuel Rosales gives a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela’s government freed Rosales from jail before dawn on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016. The former governor of Zulia state who ran for president in 2006 was jailed in October 2015 on charges of illicit enrichment upon returning to Venezuela from exile in Peru. (AP Photo/Gregorio Marrero, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • ADDS IDENTIFY OF WOMAN - This photo released by lawyer Alfredo Romero, executive director of of Foro Penal, shows student activist Gerardo Carrero, center, posing for a photo with Foro Penal Director Gonzalo Himiob, right, and Foro Penal lawyer Maria Fernanda Torres, after Carrero's release from El Helicoide prison in Caracas, Venezuela, early Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016. Carrero led a group of hardliner students who camped for weeks in 2014 outside the U.N. offices in Caracas to draw attention to a government crackdown on protests blamed for scores of deaths. Foro Penal is a group of lawyers that defends dozens of jailed activists. (Foro Penal via AP)

    ADDS IDENTIFY OF WOMAN - This photo released by lawyer Alfredo Romero, executive director of of Foro Penal, shows student activist Gerardo Carrero, center, posing for a photo with Foro Penal Director Gonzalo Himiob, right, and Foro Penal lawyer Maria Fernanda Torres, after Carrero's release from El Helicoide prison in Caracas, Venezuela, early Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016. Carrero led a group of hardliner students who camped for weeks in 2014 outside the U.N. offices in Caracas to draw attention to a government crackdown on protests blamed for scores of deaths. Foro Penal is a group of lawyers that defends dozens of jailed activists. (Foro Penal via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Venezuela's government has freed from jail a former presidential candidate and several student activists arrested during anti-government protests in 2014.

Former candidate Manuel Rosales was jailed in October 2015 on charges of illicit enrichment upon returning to Venezuela from exile in Peru. A former governor of Zulia state who ran for president in 2006 he was freed before dawn Saturday along with five other activists who opposition groups consider political prisoners.

The most prominent activist released was Gerardo Carrero. He led a group of students who camped for weeks outside the U.N. offices in Caracas to draw attention to a government crackdown on protests blamed for scores of deaths.

Human rights groups say at least 100 people remain jailed for opposing President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government.