Venezuela opposition revels in expressions of support at Oscars
By Brian Ellsworth
CARACAS, March 2 (Reuters) - Venezuela's political opposition reveled in cautious messages of solidarity from movie stars at Sunday's Academy Awards after an intense Twitter campaign calling on Hollywood's top actors to boost the profile of anti-government protests.
Critics of President Nicolas Maduro cheered comments by Jared Leto during his acceptance speech for best supporting actor, as well as tweets from Kevin Spacey and Forest Whitaker on the right to demonstrate.
"To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight, in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say 'we are here'," Leto said. "And as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we're thinking of you tonight."
Parts of eastern Caracas, which includes some of the capital's most affluent neighborhoods, broke into applause during his speech.
Unrest has killed at least 17 people since a Feb. 12 march turned violent, with rock-throwing protesters clashing almost every day with troops lobbing tear gas.
Critics accused the government of a brutal crackdown on the protests, which Maduro has called acts of vandalism that have put lives at risk and disrupted public order in an attempt to force him from power. (Full coverage: )
"Thank you @JaredLeto we'll never stop dreaming," wrote one enthused tweeter, including the hashtags #OscarsForVenezuela and #SOSVenezuela.
Opposition supporters among Venezuela's famously avid tweeters had for days been pressing Hollywood stars to speak out during the ceremony. Continuación...