In Venezuela Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez Turns Himself In

February 18, 2014

It was certainly a day to remember. Despite the Government banning the opposition march and prohibiting marches, Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in in a demonstration which was simply massive. His handover was perfectly choreographed, leaving images that have a highly emotional content and guaranteeing that this day, whatever may happen was a victory for the Voluntad Popular leader.

I mean, there are very few things missing from a picture like this one:


Lopez being pushed into the National Guard tank, white flowers in one hand, flag in the other and screaming at his supporters. Really, can it get any more dramatic than this?

And this was after Lopez had given a fiery speech to his supporters hanging on the statue of Jose Marti in Plaza Brion of Chacaito at the end of which his wife was lifted up by the crowd to say goodbye to him right before he turned himself in. How can anyone not be moved by this image?:


And it was Lopez who, from the inside of the military vehicle, used a megaphone to ask people to move aside to let the vehicle through. Lopez was calma calm and at times it seemed as if the guardsman taking him looked more scared than he did.

And the show of support was nationwide, as students organized protests in all major cities, all of them with huge crowds, all ending at the Palaces of Justice of each State with the students handing in their demands.

I went to the march, leaving somewhat late, but was surprised when a couple of Kilometers away from the march, the street was still full of people walking towards Chacaito. And when I got to Chacaito it became difficult to get through because it was so crowded. Once in the intersection with the main Country Club Avenue, I was surprised by the sea of people coming down from that direction. It turns out it was the people from the West of Caracas, who, because the march was not allowed beyond Chacaito, had to come via Libertador Avenue to where Lopez turned himself in. From there, we turned South towards Las Mercedes, went under the Autopista and then climbed back on it, only to find that the students had not only blocked it, but occupied it all the way to the Cienpies Distributor. There were people everywhere, in front, below, above. And there was lots of police and guardsman, but they they were clearly given the order to do nothing, despite our fears that we could be gassed any minute.

This is an overall picture from above, two blocks away from where Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in:


Here are some of my pictures as I walked along:

photo(12)Towards Chacaito

photo(13)Going down Las Mercedes, Autopista in front

photo(14)Trying to get through in ChacaitoIMG_1654Students sitting on the Autopista

IMG_6793Autopista towards the East, full of people

And I don’t want you to think this was a Caracas phenomenon, this was Valencia (where seven students have been shot)


And at this time, 7:37 PM , students are still out in the streets blocking the way

I am still surprised the Government went ahead and jailed Lopez. To accuse him of being a terrorist, when there are pictures showing that it was the Government’s intelligence police who shot the students on Feb. 12th. is somewhat dumb. By jailing him, not only does he become a martyr, elevating his stature within the opposition, but also creating another political prisoner and another reason for the students to fight.

Maduro also loses credibility, when it was him that suggested Lopez was responsible for the deaths of the students, not the Prosecutor, raising doubts, once again, abut the separation of powers in Venezuela. To make matters even worse, it was the Head of the National Assembly, Diodado Cabello, who took Lopez to his arraignment. What is Cabello doing there? He does not belong to any of the braches of Government that should be involved. The Government later said it was to protect Lopez’ life from the “right wing”, a silly excuse, more so, given that Lopez is also labelled as “right wing”.

Because while all this was going one, Maduro was holding his own march, despite his ban on demonstrations, where he said Lopez was being taken directly to jail (Ughh?) by helicopter, showing the President does not even understand legal procedures. In his speech, Maduro rambled, attaching President Piñera of Chile and Santos of Colombia, for involving themselves in Venezuelan affairs.

But more importantly, you just don’t go jail an opposition leader like Lopez on trumped up charges, without raising suspicions that this is simply autocracy at work. Lopez now becomes a hot potato for Maduro: Keep him in jail he becomes a symbol, release him, you look weak (and somewhat dumb!). He will actually be charged with murder, a silly charge if there ever was one.

Lopez seems to have scored a victory sooner than he thought when he started going out to try to gather the protests under his wing. Even Capriles went to the demonstration, as all opposition politicians showed up at the demonstration to show their support.

For now, the students remain on their own, a random band of disorganized protesters that have kept the Government in check for ten days. They will not go easily away and now they have one more prisoner to defend.

Here is an overview of the protest via a video:

79 Responses to “In Venezuela Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez Turns Himself In”

  1. […] In Venezuela Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez Turns Himself In | The Devil’s Excrement. […]

  2. mister_bean Says:

    I was looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck

  3. m_astera Says:

    The actions of [pathocracy] affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every town, business, and institution. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country creating a new class within that nation. This privileged class [of pathocrats] feels permanently threatened by the “others”, i.e. by the majority of normal people. Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man. [Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes]

  4. moses Says:

    Protester shot at La Candelaria. In Caracas

  5. moses Says:

    For those who can read spanish, follow this chilling report of Jose G. Marquez, trapped in a building in Altamira, with a Brazilian reporter from SBT, here is his twitter account: @jgpunto

  6. xp Says:

    any thoughts?

    “Procedemos a la creación de un mercado cambiario alternativo, Sicad II, con permuta de títulos valores“, enfatizó.

    “Esta es la tercera Ley Habilitante. Voy a firmar la Ley para la ejecución del Régimen de Administración de Divisas e Ilícitos Cambiarios que deroga de raíz la antigua Ley de Ilícitos Cambiarios que funcionó hasta hoy”, dijo en medio de una cadena de radio y TV.

    Este sistema “autoriza a que los privados compren o vendan divisas entre sí, a través de operadores cambiarios bajo supervisión del Banco Central” y permite “a Pdvsa (la petrolera estatal) y al Banco Central participar como oferentes”, informó el Presidente.

    • xp Says:

      Pronto se fijarán las tasas de cambios “máximas???30% on top of 11.63= about 15bs/$”, que se revisarán periódicamente y que se revisarán estas materias y pronto se aplicarán sus bases.

  7. moses Says:

    Follow @RAPS14 for more photos and news

  8. Obama finally Says:

  9. Obama finally Says:

    In Mexico, Obama criticizes Venezuelan government

    7:29am IST

    TOLUCA, Mexico, Feb 19 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday sharply criticized the Venezuelan government for arresting protesters and urged the government to focus on the “legitimate grievances” of its people.

    At a news conference concluding a North American summit, Obama did not mince words in reacting to Venezuela’s expulsion this week of three U.S. diplomats accused of recruiting students to lead protests in Caracas.
    Instead of “making up false accusations” against U.S. diplomats, the Venezuelan government should focus on the “legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan government,” Obama said.

    He called on the Caracas government to release protesters it had detained and engage in a real dialogue. “All parties have an obligation to work together,” he said.

  10. Ambassador John Bolton Says:

    Two influential persons in the US: Megyn interviews ambassador John Bolton (former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security). Bolton beat Chavez at UNSC. One of USAs rare victories. Bolton’s got it down allright.

  11. NTN24 live feed Says:

    NTN24 live feed

  12. moses Says:

    Terrible the police and armed thugs currently at Plaza Altamira (9:51 pm local time), are storming buildings and robbing motorcyclesat gunpoint, follow @milmanrique @fmonroy

  13. syd Says:

    Otras fotos:

    Yesterday, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, whom the government has blamed for the recent protests, promised to turn himself in under one condition: that the protests continue in Caracas today. This morning, tens of thousands of people obliged. Twitter has been flooded with aerial pictures of the mass protests—many of which Venezuela’s government seems to prefer […]

  14. home videos Feb 19 Says:

    just uploaded

  15. Bois Says:

    In the US the Tea Party held the local elected politicians accountable, which sacred the elected officials, many were voted out of office. Would this work in Venezuela. I mean, could the students put pressure on all the local elected officials to represent their views to the government. Now, instead of the students/protesters demanding change, maybe enough of the local elected politicians also would be putting pressure on the government to change. Just a thought.

    • Alexis Says:

      The students/protesters *are* demanding changes right now, regarding the profound and serious problems they face in their daily lives.

      As it has been for any dissent in the past 15 years, repression has been the only answer.

  16. Disinformation War in Venezuela Says:

    Russian RT interview with Elias Jaua …23 min long
    Feb 19 1:45pm EST

  17. Diputados UDI Says:

    (Chile) Parlamentarios UDI miembros de la comisión de RR.EE de la Cámara, Iván Moreira y Mónica Zalaquett

  18. pleito entre Nuria y Embajador Alberto Castella Says:

    “Senor embajador, lo estamos sintiendo bastante agresivo”

  19. pleito entre Nuria y Embajador Alberto Castella Says:

    “…In the U.S. they send you to the electric chair for threatening the president…”

    Ambassador A. Castella

  20. pleito entre Nuria y Embajador Alberto Castella Says:

    Venezuelan ambassador to DomRep fights on DR TV: Pleito entre Nuria y Embajador Alberto Castella

  21. Lilian Tintori interview Says:

    Lilian Tintori interview

  22. CNN got jacked Says:

    CNN crew jacked at gunpoint…equipment taken by plainclothes officers.

  23. Dave Hill Says:

    Nothing in the way of support from the rich communists of Hollywood? Nothing from the Marxist liar Obama? Sean Penn? Danny Glover? Michael Moore? Harry Belafonte? Code Pink? Rosie? Don’t they remember Kent State? Nothing from these fearless freedom fighters??? It is almost as quiet in Hollywood as it was the day the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

    • Alexis Says:

      There are more political dimensions than “left” and “right”. It’s ignorant to think that democrats (advocates of democracy) would support an authoritarian regime.

      • Dean A Nash Says:

        Good one, Alexis. Um, if you don’t mind a personal question, where the hell have you been for the past 15 or so years? (For non-native English speakers, my first sentence is dripping with sarcasm.)

    • RattInnaCage Says:

      Dave Hill – The people of Venezuela are at a crossroads that very well could end in blood on the streets and here you are calling the TWICE freely elected President of the United States a “Marxist liar”. You should be ashamed.

  24. jau Says:

    PDVSA Prices as of today:
    PDVSA 14: 89.90-90.40 -.10 -2.45 21.21% 2080 42 468 835
    PDVSA 15: 77.25-78.05 -.15 -4.75 21.55% 2108 20 414 614
    PDVSA 16: 68.55-69.75 -.15 -4.50 20.69% 2003 18 292 543
    PDVSA 17: 63.75-64.55 -.20 -3.35 21.56% 2075 21 213 513
    PDVSA 17N: 72.85-73.35 -.25 -4.40 22.65% 2190 26 294 581
    PDVSA 21: 62.80-63.50 -.20 -4.30 18.94% 1707 13 167 327
    PDVSA 22: 76.05-76.75 -.45 -4.65 19.02% 1717 19 157 373
    PDVSA 26: 51.65-52.25 -.25 -2.05 14.74% 1205 9 68 112
    PDVSA 27: 49.65-50.45 -.25 -1.95 13.65% 1081 7 60 107
    PDVSA 35: 60.40-61.40 -.20 -2.90 16.45% 1376 6 85 198
    PDVSA 37: 47.55-48.75 -.25 -1.95 12.31% 924 6 54 85

    What do you reckon Mr Octavio?
    Is there support at this levels?
    This is shit-hit-the-fan prices territory…

  25. John Barnard Says:

    “Release the son of Bolivar!” has a nice ring to it.

  26. Ira Says:

    Despite the past poll numbers, Lopez stepped aside for Capriles for opposition unity.

    Capriles has to really step up to the plate now in defense of Lopez…clear and unequivocal support without any asterisks or disclaimers…not just because the opposition needs it.

    But because it’s the right thing to do.

    I would even say that depending on Lopez’s status/disposition over the next few days, Capriles should be calling for mass demonstrations immediately. In fact, he should be screaming for them.

    • Noel Says:

      I don’t think that Capriles has the same charisma and drive as Lopez. Perhaps the new leader will be Maria Corina Machado.

  27. Maria Odette Foster Says:

    Hello Mo, been a long time since I have posted so I start by thanking you for still being here … its not easy.

    The latest so far is that Camello, sorry Cabello played body guard to Leopold because there had been threats against his life that the “gov” had become aware of. Yup ok. Back up for this.

    A few nights ago a Search had been done at Leopolds house and his fathers. The thugs came looking for him, “hooded”, guns in hand and did not have warrant,Yup, thats a threat. Was all over the twit & papers (the few that remain and are printing 8 pages only) RCR talked about it also.They left a message for him that lead to the 3 day pause. Apparently he had been “negotiating” the terms for presenting himself in court but also I would think to give Camello {oops) a chance to convince Leo that he had in his possession a recording of a “retired General & a member of the MUD) on tape & plotting Leos Assassination”. Hence Camello would be his body guard to insure that this did not happen.( This tidbit was said by Arreaza, VP on tv: Link: LaRadiodelSur1 on youtube starts at min 7:15. After GNB took Leopoldo into custody the rumors started to spread as to his destination. 1, that got Nitu unnerved on Air (RCR Caracas) was the interview she was doing of …. where he had :just received: intel that Leopoldo was going to be taken to Cuba. So now Cuba is not just Gringo Guantanamo, Vzla is renting space too. Nitus prog. can be heard online via Liliana, Leopolds wife, confirmed on the CNNes progm. that they had been informed of threats. Link: CNNes youtube: starts min 2:40.

    Those that think that no one is standing up, well UNASUR did, problem is they sent 1 text & posted it on the web site ( and Elias Jaua read a different text. 1 insists on Democracy as a prerequisit to membership, the other wording supports Maburro Via NTN24 (the Colombian channel that has been blocked from Vzla for informing) again via youtube Maburro is loosing friends in this year of 7 elections in the region and no contributions coming their way.

    Any Politician calling for a protest is going to get charged. When the students started going out and the whole Venatour Protest in Margarita (arechos) and 7 of the protesters were arrested and still not allowed to return home. The MUD started to plan. It became a chess game. That’s what the MUD is, the chess table that everyone in that club plays on. They all agreed that Leopoldo knows how to get the people out. And the population has been calling for protests anyway so he would be the “just in case you go to jail” guy. HCR can not call for a demonstration. If he does he will be arrested and Jaua ( his shadow gov in Mirand ) will just take over. No election, don’t pass go, don’t get the 200 bucks. It’s Chess & monopoly, who can get the most territory and get things to change. Leopoldo is the along with food, medicine, violence, lack of work etc etc. elections will be called for early next year? transition gov.? then HCR will step in. He does not want to be the short term Pres. It will be interesting to see who will take over the PSUV party as party leader. My money is on Camello.
    Sorry for such a long post Mo. please cut, paste edit etc. I just wanted to say it, made me feel better. I have not seen Isld Canuck post in a while, I hope all is well with him.

  28. N Smith Says:

    The parallel rate is staying the same at 87 indicating that a stalemate is in place – at the moment: no-one knows yet what is going to happen next.

    • Roy Says:

      I had this discussion yesterday with some friends. When the situation is so confused that no prediction is possible, the status quo becomes the default.

  29. TV Says:

    I still think the best line for the opposition right now is to decry Cuban lapdogs, who imprisoned Lopez so Cuba could remain in colonial control of Venezuela. It’s bound to strike a chord with pretty much everyone, and it’s not far from truth. It could easily be an accurate description of the situation.

    • Rob Says:

      And the amazing thing is that a Bolivar family descendant is the one now imprisoned in order to maintain colonialism in place.

      A novella scriptwriter would have great difficulty in convincing an audience with that plot.

  30. Mike Says:

    But what now?

    Whoever doesn’t believe that a Castro guided regime wouldn’t jail somebody like Leopoldo Lopez for 30 years or so, just come to Miami and you will find plenty of people still alive who can tell you their story.

    And what if they let him back out now?

    There is only one way to get rid of this regime and I am afraid it is the violent and bloody method.

  31. Dean A Nash Says:

    I predict that this will be – at long last – Venezuela’s turning point: a “Leader” willing to stand up and SACRIFICE for his country. Venezuela has had others, the students who began these marches the most recent examples. But of the famous (purported) “leaders”, this is the first one willing to put his life on the line. The last Venezuelan ‘leader” to do this was Chavez himself. It paid off handsomely for him. Lopez isn’t doing this for himself, so the results should be much better this time.

    One other obvious benefit, now the world has a recognizable face to rally behind, a la Mandela (South Africa) and Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar).

  32. geronl Says:

    “But more importantly, you just don’t go jail an opposition leader like Lopez on trumped up charges, without raising suspicions that this is simply autocracy at work”

    It IS autocracy at work.

    Many different scenarios could follow:

    There is a good chance that Lopez will be killed “by right-wingers” and other opposition leaders will be arrested for it. Maduro will say they were jealous and wanted to consolidate the opposition under themselves.

    In NO scenario does Marduro and the Chavistas go down without a bloody fight.

    • Roy Says:


      “In NO scenario does Marduro and the Chavistas go down without a bloody fight.”

      I agree with you about the rank and file Chavistas and in particular the “colectivos”. However, I expect that most of the top leadership will bug out as soon as the situation devolves to the point that they can no longer steal any more from the system.

  33. Keyla lazardi Says:

    Excellent article and the description of the protest gave me goosebumps. Glad that you were able to witness this “day to remember”.

    If Maduro et al have “dos dedos de frente” they would free him soon but who knows…

  34. Noel Says:

    There has been a pretty good coverage of the situation by Colombian NTN24, getting video interviews via Skype of both opponents and at least one partisan of the regime. This evening they had a round table of former Latin American presidents putting pressure on their successors to call for action, beginning with an OAS meeting and a demand for the respect of the democratic charter signed by all members, and failing that, sanctions.

    Their message was clear: silence and/or semi-condemnations were equivalent to being accomplices.

    Also today, a very well know journalist at the Brazilian magazine Veja wrote a pretty devastating indictment of Brazilian foreign policy since Lula took office.

    It looks like silence is becoming a very uncomfortable option.

  35. M Rubio Says:

    Today Lopez replaced Capriles as the leader of the opposition. I cheer him and weep for the people of this poor country living under such wretched conditions.

  36. Peruvians are working hard to force their government to respect human rights in Venezuela. Here are a few gems coming from there:

    Congressman Luis Galarreta (PPC-AP) called this afternoon to the Peruvian Foreign Ministry and issued a statement calling on the regime of Nicolas Maduro to respect human rights and ensure the life of opposition leader Leopoldo López, who he said had the courage to surrender to this dictatorship, rather than seek asylum.

    The internet newspaper Perú21 warned, that if, at this juncture, President Ollanta Humala remains silent, it will demonstrate that his link with the Chavez regime is still strong and that he does not want to break it. That is because at some point it (I added Peru) could go the same way and would need their Support.

    “Given the timid and cowardly silence of several Latin American countries including those by the Peruvian government (we) demand diplomatic guarantees and freedoms for Leopoldo Lopez,”

    Secretary General of the APRA, Jorge del Castillo, also requested that the Government should care about the status of Lopez, who, he said, was arrested for political reasons. “I hope that the government adopts a position of defending democracy and orders guarantees for the Venezuelan leader. This has to be an international crusade,” he said.

  37. Pedro Says:

    Devil, you are wrong. The Ministry of Truth says that “pequenos grupos” is what you saw. Don’t believe your lying eyes.

  38. Tom ODonnell Says:

    Many thanks, Moctavo.

    As you say, this is very well done by Leopoldo Lopez. No leader since Chavez, when he openly admitted his role in his coup, that I can think of, has done anything showing such a dignified personal resolve for a political cause. In particular, Lopez’ words saying he would never leave Venezuela (unlike, for example, Manuel Rosales) are of great significance.

    Lopez has always had a sense of the importance of mobilizing the mass movements, civil society organizations, etc. The experience of working on this front develops political instincts that seem to now serve him well.

    It seems that this movement might resonate in barrios as well? The level of frustration is so high everywhere nowadays. I have heard reports of, for example, a caserolazo in a Caracas barrio in the last day or so. Do you have any sense that the student and larger opposition movement is resonating in barrios?

    • Yes Tom, Caricuso, Coche, Petare are participating, people are fed up with shortages. This is a significant step. I think the Government thought Lopez would leave. My guess is they free him soon.

  39. Tomate Says:

    No se si esto tenga valor pero aquí esta un link que es una petición para activar la carta democrática de la OEA en Venezuela

  40. xp Says:

    López was born in Caracas on 29 April 1971,
    the second of three brothers.
    He studied at the Colegio Santiago de León de Caracas
    and graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 1993,
    where he received a degree in Sociology.
    He subsequently attended Harvard University’s
    Kennedy School of Government where he
    obtained a Master of Public Policy in 1996.
    In 2007,
    he received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Kenyon.
    In May 2007 he married Lilian Tintori,
    with whom he had a daughter in 2009.
    López’ mother, Antonieta Mendoza,
    … is the daughter of Eduardo Mendoza Goiticoa.
    …. Through her,
    López is the great-great-great-grandson
    of the country’s first president, Cristóbal Mendoza.
    López is the great-great-grand nephew of Simón Bolívar.
    …. Bolivar’s sister, Juana Bolivar,
    ….. is Lopez’s fourth grandmother making him
    …… of Bolívar’s few living relatives.

    López worked as an economic consultant
    to the Planning Vice-President in
    …Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) between 1996 and 1999,
    and as a professor of Institutional Economy in the
    Economics Department at
    Universidad Católica Andrés Bello.

    El guevon in miraflores,
    will need to think hard,
    if he thinks at all –
    before even touching a hair
    of a living descendent of Bolívar.

    • xp Says:

      If you should care to look,
      ….you will see a striking resemblance
      ……in López of Bolívar’s Countenance.

    • xp Says:

      Anyone remember Cher? 🙂
      like in ‘you got me Babe…’

      Didn’t know she was into vzlan activities

      Cher ‏@cher 2h

    • Manuela Says:

      XP, your selling of Leopoldo Lopez as being the descendant of Bolívar, a descendant of the first President of Venezuela and an economic consultant of a major oil corporation when he was 25 years old does nothing to help his image, quite the opposite.

      Tell us his political ideas and his track record as a public servant instead.

    • Patricia Says:

      Thanks for Leopoldo’s resume. I heard that he was related to Simon Bolivar, but I did not the deta ils

  41. Maria Gonzalez Says:

    Miguel, thank you so much. I already posted it in my FB…great summary for my gringo friends! what a historical day and I am afraid that we will have many more to come.

  42. Roy Says:

    Good article Miguel.

    Not to quibble but, “…raising doubts, once again, abut the separation of powers in Venezuela.” has to be one of the biggest understatements of the year. It is more like putting an exclamation mark on the fact that there are no separation of powers.

  43. […] a link to a report on today’s events from The Devil’s Excrement. It includes several photos, including this one of Sra. Lopez being lifted by protesters to say […]

  44. Glenn Says:

    Is anyone forecasting how many people participated?

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