Will Leopoldo Lopez be allowed to run by the Chavez Government?

September 16, 2011

Now that the Human Rights Court of the OAS has ruled that Leopoldo Lopez’ political rights were violated by the Venezuelan Government, will he be allowed to run?

My gut feeling says no, although there are arguments for saying they will.

Basically, it depends on the Government’s perception (and polls) on how it affects the current race.

Currently, Henrique Capriles is the clear front runner with almost 60% of the preferences in a race that even includes Lopez. However, it will not be the same poll if Lopez is openly campaigning and is allowed to register.

Thus, it boils down to whether they think Lopez takes sufficient votes away from Capriles to allow a third, and more easily beatable, candidate to get past both Lopez and Capriles.This could work both ways, if Lopez has no impact on numbers, this would give Capriles even more strength.

My gut feeling is that they will not let him run for a simple reason, a Capriles/Lopez or Lopez/Capriles duo would make a fearsome campaigning team with no links to the IVth. Having said that, Capriles could still say he would name Lopez as VP, even if he is not allowed to register for the primaries.

Additionally, accepting the decision means all of those banned from public office due to a decision by the Comptroller would be covered by the decision.

Not an easy choice for the Government…somehow I like that…

63 Responses to “Will Leopoldo Lopez be allowed to run by the Chavez Government?”

  1. Bill S. Says:

    I predict that Mr. Lopez will get a large percentage of the female vote.

  2. captainccs Says:

    So many fancy ways of saying: “Chavez will steal the election.” Why not just say “Chavez will steal the election?” Mark my words: “Chavez will steal the election.”

    • CharlesC Says:

      Yes- . And the way things are going- the only way Chavez could win
      is by stealing.( Kind of nice and rewarding in its own way- just knowing

      • CharlesC Says:

        But, seriously- if Chavez does steal the election- it will be documented
        and people of Venezuela have to rise up- and throw Chavez out-and
        will probably require assistance from ???

  3. Actually, what I said was wrong, I looked at the data again, in a Datanalisis poll, the “confianza” levels on the candidates were:

    Capriles 37%
    Lopez 29%
    Perez 27%

  4. LL is already in some polls and running third….behind Perez in second and Capriles in first.

  5. Gonzalo Says:

    If MUD = opposition then to me it is a wrong strategy. It will be interesting to see if LL all of the sudden ranks first in upcoming polls over HCR as the preferred presidential candidate. Chavez and buddies will block the guy and the opposition will go in a effort less marcha…I migth be wrong but it smells like it.

  6. I dont think this is a MUD strategy. LL was considered an outsider in the MUD. In time, he backs the MUD and the MUD has accepted him, but he is the most independent of the candidates IMHO.

    • JMA Says:

      Ok, but what makes him think he has the CV to run for president? In the current circumstances, we need someone with an education and experience … lots of it. I don’t think having been major of Chacao is enough (BTW, the fact that the metropolitan area of Caracas has 5 majors, a Grand Major, and a Chief of Government is a bad joke). At least, HC has been major and governor, though for what is really needed, I also find him lacking. In this respect, we could learn a quite a bit of the election of Obama as president of the U.S. (Disclosure: don’t like republicans at all!).

      • Obama had been a one term Senator, always on the legislative side, he had little administrative responsibility other than the Law Review at Harvard. I really dont see why Obama had more. I personally think that Capriles, Lopez and Perez have as much administrative experience as you are likely to find in an opposition candidate in Venezuela, but neither embodies the economic beliefs that I would like to vote for (But I certainly will vote for them)

        • JMA Says:

          I think you misunderstood me. I meant to state that Obama did not have enough experience to be president, something that now is patently clear. JFK had 14 years of experience in congress before he became president: 8 years as a representative and 6 as a senator. Although not executive experience per se, I would have not been comfortable voting for him at all if I had the chance. The lesson that we have to learn is that we cannot elect someone with little experience just because he or she is popular. In my book, just having been major of Chacao disqualifies Lopez for the job. Capriles has indeed the most executive experience, but he needs to man up to Chavez. To me, Perez is another populist clown. Regarding their economic beliefs, indeed the country needs to move away from the failed policies of the past, which they all seem to embrace in one way or another. I do not know if it is due to some sort of political strategy that they do not call socialism for what it is, a failed system, but they need to tell people that it is so, and that capitalism is our only way out.

          • I agree, but reality is that the Chavez 12 years blocked a number of people from acquiring that experience and we now have to go on the fly.

            My problem is more than I dont see anyone expressing their belief in any model for development. It does not have to be “capitalist”. We have to minimize the State, let it regulate the Hell out of everything, but have clear rules and a plan for the development of the country. Yes, you need free market policies (my opinion) but you also need strong enforcement of laws and economic studies of the impact of programs.

          • CharlesC Says:

            The opposition has a “play nice” play soft strategy-contrary to Chavez.
            (And Chavez nevertheless- cries “they want tokill me, they are all plotting
            with the empire to destroy me-blah blah blah.)
            Anyway- mostly the candidates don’t even mention Chavez’s name.
            That is the strategy. I got blasted by many people for criticizing Perez already. I do believe the “team strategy” is best against Chavez.
            So, can’ t destroy our team-and afterChavez- I hope everyone puts their
            egos aside and works to rebuild and restore Venezuela.

        • JMA Says:

          Sorry, I meant: “Although not executive experience per se, I would have been comfortable voting for him if I had the chance.”

      • captainccs Says:

        >>> BTW, the fact that the metropolitan area of Caracas has 5 majors, a Grand Major, and a Chief of Government is a bad joke.

        The more decentralized the better. Get rid of the Grand Major and the Chief of Government if you want but 5 majors is better than one. I want my major to be close to me, to see my broken street and fix it. A major in a far away galaxy won’t do it.

        One of the things Chavez has been doing is destroying decentralization and concentrating more and more power in his hands. We need the opposite, for power to move closer to the people, which means fewer big fat government cats and lots of little cats.

        • JMA Says:

          What about this? One major, and 4 officials under him, each in charge of a sector of the metropolitan area. Caracas has only 4 million for god’s sake.

          “A major in a far away galaxy won’t do it.”

          Caracas is a small city with a cramped population. 50% of it lives in the cerros.

          Here is an idea: why don’t we ask how do they do it in New York, Chicago, or Washington? They ALL have one major, last I checked.

  7. Gonzalo Says:

    The answer is simple and no need to blast ….no ofense… our brains…Chavez will not obey the ruling. Although it will be a good opportunity for the opposition to warm up the streets. we have a long time we do not see a marcha…well you will see a huge one on this issue…but will once more go no where…I think MUD is waisting time and effort with this strategy…

  8. island canuck Says:

    Sunday headlines from the most democratic representatives of Venezuela.

    Jose Vicente Rangel, ex-VP & ex guerilla:
    “Hay una escalada subversiva en marcha”, dice José Vicente Rangel
    ND.- En sus “Confidenciales”, el periodista José Vicente Rangel comentó que se repite la “campaña desestabilizadora” de los años 2002 y 2003. “La situación se reproduce con iguales características”, dijo y rechazó los “desmentidos hipócritas” de cierto sector del país.

    Let’s see this is subversion plot #732. Why not put a lid on it Jose. It’s getting boring. Unless he thinks general elections are subversive?

    Rangel Silva: Venezuela está preparada para enfrentar una “invasión extranjera”
    “Tenemos una Fuerza Armada con sistemas de armas modernos, que permiten librar con éxito el combate contra aquel enemigo que nos quiera venir a invadir y a socavar la soberanía”, aseguró.

    Why not just come out & admit that the Fuerza Armada would last about 12 minutes if the US or the ONU decided to invade.
    The truth is these arms are to protect the Cubans & Chavez when the pueblo finally has had enough of living in a collapsed country.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Thank you Island Canuck!! I wish he and Shavez would march their asses out to a real battle-but, they will not.
      Venezuela – the real EL PUEBLO- must disarm the military. Stop all those future contracts for weapons with Russia and China. Stop those deals for missiles from belorussia and Iran. I even thought -maybe Brazil should invade just to bring peace to Venezuela- but-they would never leave,,,
      I C – do you think the Cubans will ever leave on their own- NO- of course
      they will not. They have to HAVE TO be sent home. In fact, follow them home and liberate Cuba!

  9. Noel Says:

    I would think that much depends on the health of President Chavez: whether he will be able to run himself and whether those around him will start to think of a Venezuela without him to protect them.

  10. CharlesC Says:

    I give all credit to Leopoldo Lopez for one thing- generating some
    international exposure to the diseased dysfunctional legal system
    fostered in Venezuela totally by Chavez over the past 12 years.

  11. In the end, even if LL is blocked, HC can say he will be my VP and my forst act as elected President will be to pardon LL. This is not as easy a choice as it sems , even if it appears the Government has made its decision.

    • bruni Says:

      Miguel, HCR could have said that even before the announcement of the court. Whoever is President can use the Presidential Pardon (remember Caldera?) for anything…so if HCR has not done it so far, it is because he is not interested in having Lopez too close IMHO. Thus, the court ruling does not change anything….Why would the government accept the ruling? What do they have to win?

      I frankly find you too naive in your evaluation of this particular situation.

      A dog is a dog is a dog. Chavez knows LL is dangerous for him…so his strategy is straightforward: block LL as much as he can.

      • Easy, HCR is leading the polls, the Govt. prefers Pablo Perez against Chavez than HCR against Chavez, Lopez takes votes away from Capriles, not Perez. Additionally, tnot allowing LL to run weakens Chavez electoral “legitimacy” that the Government prides itself is. Chavez was very careful with his words yesterday, he criticized the Court, but did not say the ruling will not be followed. he will decide with Fidel what to do. That may be the main reason for treatment in Cuba, it is an important decision.

        • Bruni Says:

          Well, I found strange the trip to Cuba for chemo when he had stayed for the last one in Vzla. You may have a point there: the timing is suspicious.

          • There is an additional argument, y LL goes to the CNE to register his candidacy and the CNE says no, they will be personally liable (In the future, not under Chavez) for violating his political rights. They can not argue they need the TSJ to rule…

    • island canuck Says:

      You knew it had to come from the bully, childlike mind of our VP.

      Jaua: Miranda se merece un Gobernador con esposa e hija

      The “gay” reference was going to come sooner or later to discredit HCR. Just as well it’s sooner.

  12. JMA Says:

    Off-topic amusing quote:

    “in 5000 years of history, the world had never reach such a degree of corruption as the one we are now witnessing.”

    – Hugo Chavez

    In reference to Venezuelan bankers that presumably paid off interpol officers to be kept out of the institution’s criminal list.

    That chemo is piche! Better go to Cuba to have theirs, y para aprovechar a que Fidel le sobe las nalgas.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Jajajaja Chavez like so many men-forgot to read the label-
      Caution! Messing with Fidel Castro
      will cause IMPAIRED VISION.

  13. bruni Says:

    You are too sophisticated in your analysis Miguel. Of course they will not let LL run! OF COURSE! They have been pinpointing LL since day one. He is young, carismatic, handsome and, when he wants, does not look too much “east of Caracas”.

    He even appeals to chavistas and ni-nis!

    If we know that, Chavez knows that and he targeted LL from day one. In fact, even with the chemo, he has not lost time giving “instructions”

  14. captainccs Says:

    You guys are barking up the wrong tree. Lopez is not being persecuted by Chavez but by his boss, Fidel Castro, for the “attack” on the Cuban embassy back in 2002.

    That’s right, the Venezuelan “show” is being orchestrated and directed from Cuba.

    Ley de Amnistía no incluye el asedio a la Embajada de Cuba

    Este anuncio no significa para el mandatario baruteño el fin de sus problemas con la justicia, pues el caso que se le sigue por los ataques a la embajada de Cuba continúa abierto. La razón: la Ley de Anmistía no abarca este hecho.


    • Ira Says:

      Can you describe this in English?

      • Ira Says:

        I wasn’t making a joke or being sarcastic. It’s just that my Spanish stinks and I didn’t understand that part of your post.

      • captainccs Says:

        The Amnesty Law does not include the siege of the Cuban Embassy

        This announcement does not mean the end of the problems with the law for the politician from Baruta because the case of the attack on the Cuban Embassy is ongoing. The reason: The Amnesty Law does not cover this incident.

  15. Susan Says:

    Is there a list of candidates by party ? Perhaps someone has a link.
    It would be nice if the list were rated on probability of success. S.

  16. Mike Says:

    Since the parent organization of the IACHR is the OAS, or, I guess technically it is actually PART of the OAS, is there a possibility or even maybe a provision in the OAS statutes, that a member country that does not abide by IACHR decisions will be expelled from the OAS? Or at minimum get some MEANINGFULL sanctions? Or am I dreaming? Because if there is no penalty for non- compliance, what’s the point of this exercise?

    Memories in politics are very short, so if Venezuela doesn’t let LL run, initially, the Americas and maybe the whole world will be outraged (actually many countries just pretending and some supporting Veneuela), but in 6 months, it will be forgotten by most and therefore I can see Chavez taking the risk of saying no if he still feels that it is the best electoral strategy or if his psycho personality simply doesn’t allow him to bow to the IACHR.

    After all, he has already a long rap sheet when it comes to HR violations, but, in the end, “aqui no pasa nada”, as Alek Boyd recently so very well described the status quo in Venezuela pre this decision (and likely no change “after”). Although many of these previous / other HR violations were big scandals at the time, yet in the end all of them blew over and didn’t permanently affect his popularity. So could his state of mind be “what, me worry”?

    • Roberto N Says:

      There are no sanctions with teeth in them. If Venezuela chooses to ignore the decision, then that is it. There will be a black mark against us, it will be shown that we do not respect the rules and that’s that. The US did not follow a ruling that Nicaragua won against it and look what happened.

      No, the play is as stated above. On Feb.13th (better yet, the 14th so that LOVE can be brought into it as a reason) the TSJ will announce that they will respect the decision after all.

    • glenn Says:

      As I’ve always said, if you want to know what Chavez will do just listen to what he says. He’s denounced the OAS and called them a bunch of useless tools (my words but the essence is the same). He’s claimed the OAS should be dissolved and threatened to leave the OAS. He’s left and joined and created so many other organizations it makes your head spin. Alba? Mercusor? CAN? I think it’s clear what he will do. He will give the IACHR a big FU and claim sovereign rights. The TSJ may be more delicate about it but it will come from the big guy.

      • Ira Says:


        Chavez doesn’t give a crap about the OAS.

        Unfortunately for him, his discounted oil doesn’t come CLOSE to the aid that the U.S. provides most OAS members.

        I know this pisses the Chavistas off, but this the reality.

  17. The decision says that the Venezuelan Constitution is clear in that political rights are only lost if there is a sentence, I have not read the whole thing:


    Ira; Capriles ledas in all polls by a two to one margin, if that is not a front runner, I dont know what is, it may change when all candidates are defined, precisely because primaries are 5 months from now, I dont want to write about it.

    • Ira Says:

      With more than a year to go, leading two to one means nothing–especially depending on the suspect research company you’re basing this on.

      It’s also very possible that Capriles is gay (never married and trying to act like the stud)–and although I have no problem with this at ALL, the vast majority of Venezuelans are in the stone age when it comes to gay rights. As are the mast majority of Americans.

      The simple fact is, Capriles will be charged with some crime way before it really gets into campaign season. Either that, or he’s going to be assassinated:

      And I’m not saying Hugo is going to oder that, but when you look at the character of most Chavistas…plus what they have to LOSE with a Hugo defeat…the writing is on the wall.

      • Ira Says:

        “Vast” majority. Not “mast.”


      • CharlesC Says:

        Ira- Caprilles has been refreshing and very friendly-such a contrast from
        Chavez- anyway- many people really like him.
        Yes- anyone in Vz can get hatcheted..yes it is early.
        The opposition- has a sort of set of rules- can’t be too aggressive, can’t mention overthrowing Chavez, -really some try not to even mention his name.-And still Chavez says “they want me dead, they are backed by the empire and name calling etc..: Opposition is trying not to play dirty- and we know Chavez will though..-at least the opposition will “show up”and try
        even if they lose…
        Reality is–so many things are working against Chavez- and it is not the opposition- so why should anyone get assasssinated for example- ??
        The opposition is not damaging Chavez much -not yet..Economy-
        International affairs, finally threat of sanctions for terrorist involvement
        these things are growing against Chavez.

      • There is only 5 months to go to the primary

  18. bruni Says:

    What I would like to know is if the international court ruled in general terms or just in the specific case of Leopoldo Lopez. In other words, if they ruled that the fact of politically inhabilitating someone based on an administrative ruling goes against human rights or, if it was just in this case that the human rights were violated (so that the judges had a look at *this* specific case).

    • captainccs Says:


      Jurisprudence is built out of individual cases. In a new case they look to see how they ruled in a similar case before. That’s why good lawyers have to do a lot of research, to dig up favorable jurisprudence.

    • Mike Says:

      It depends which legal system this court is following. If common law, it woul be based on “Stare Decisis” or the concept of precedent / case law.

      If that’s the case, everybody else with similar circumstances should be able to file a law suit and alledge case law based on the LL decision and would probably win.

      Now how this would work out in practice, given that the LL decision took about 3 years, is a different question…..

  19. Ira Says:

    Miguel, you really have to stop this nonsense about Capriles being the frontrunner and the annointed oppositon candidate –with around 18 months to go.

    But thanks for covering the candidates…something you should do day after day after day, as I posted before.

    Datanalysis ( Spelling? The VZ polling firm?) is a joke.

  20. VJ Says:

    The simple, planned and 2 steps procedure to handle Leopoldo Lopez´s case is as follows:
    1- As Maduro said today, the TSJ very seriously will study the sentence and then decide about it. The study would last at least six months of deep analysis and for February 13th 2012, sentence will be ready!
    2- The sentence will be favourable to Leopoldo and then CNE will announce that he will be permitted to run for the October 2012 Presidential Elections. .

    So, at the end of February 2012, the opposition forces will be entrapped and debating again who is our best canditate: Capriles or Lopez !!

    • maria gonzalez Says:

      VJ…Bingo. They are so good taking their time in this type of decisions…and Venezuelans will wait drinking whiskey, buying LV bags and getting plastic surgeries…and continuing thinking about getting one more Miss Universe title!

  21. captainccs Says:

    Chavez is going to steal one more election and the MUD will continue to play the useful fool. But since abstention is even worse, we are between a rock and a hard place.

  22. Dr. Faustus Says:

    “My gut feeling is that they will not let him run for a simple reason, a Capriles/Lopez or Lopez/Capriles duo would make a fearsome campaigning team…”

    That’s a very profound statement. I think that is precisely correct. Well done.

  23. BT Says:

    It is very difficult to believe that one could live in a country were the “incumbent” does not allow someone to run just because he’s fearful of losing the election.

    Were it my country, I’d take control of the situation immediately. There is not enough room for a goofball and myself in the same country.

    Take control Venezuelans!!!! You know what to do.

    • Gold Says:

      Take control? This is so out of control that they are putting Maduro at the wheel now. El Titanic se queda pendejo. Sauve qui peut!

    • captainccs Says:

      >>>Take control Venezuelans!!!! You know what to do.

      The right to bear arms is one of the few effective measures against dictators. One of the first things Chavez did on gaining the presidency was to revoke most weapon permits. He knew full-well whither he was going while the Venezuelan population slumbered peacefully on the road to servitude.

      To take control today means taking on the Cuban led armed forces who have shown no mercy in gassing, kicking and shooting demonstrators. You might remember the soldier who was burned to death in a “training exercise.” That was no exercise. It was part of the intimidation and indoctrination of our foot soldiers.

    • Kevin Rica Says:

      That’s they way they do it in Iran. I’m sure that there has been a technical exchange between the two governments.

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