Caracas Mayor Ledezma Arrested

February 20, 2015

Video of intelligence police taking Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma away

After two weeks of threatening to arrest him, intelligence police (SEBIN) raided the offices of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezama and forcibly took him away while shooting into the air as they left. The intelligence police had no arrest warrant and it was not until President Maduro later spoke on forced nationwide TV that the President confirmed that he had been arrested “on orders” from the Prosecutor.

Venezuelan media did not report the incident (other than El Nacional) for hours, as people gathered outside the SEBIN offices near Plaza Venezuela. But it was not until the early hours of the morning that it was learned that Ledezma was being held in El Helicoide.

Maduro claimed that Ledezma would be tried for his “crimes against peace”, noting in particular, that he had signed a letter which was nothing but a conspiracy against him. The letter was signed by Ledezma, Leopolodo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado and called for a “transition Government” of national unity.

Maduro revealed that he had been in Cuba during the Carnival break, suggesting that this strategy was cooked up there. The strategy is likely to be to create protests, intimidate and at the same time distract the population from the numerous economic problems the country has. This is a typical strategy by Chavismo of becoming aggressive whenever its popularity goes down, looking to show that the President (Chávez then, Maduro now) is in charge and deserves the support of its sympathizers.

The concern is that what the Government wants to do is minimize the leadership of the opposition ahead of the Parliamentary elections. Polls suggest that Chavismo will lose such an election by a wide margin, but at this time Maduro is likely trying to stop the opposition from obtaining a 2/3 majority. If this were the case, the National Assembly could approve Bills before the new Assembly takes over, moving subjects, such as budgetary approval and the like, to the Executive branch. If the opposition did not obtain the 2/3 majority it would be unable to overturn such Bills.

The detention does little to help the image of Maduro internationally, but it has been clear for quite a while that he cares little about that and is behaving like an outright Dictator. The outcry so far internationally is the loudest since the detention of Leopoldo Lopez, but the immediate reaction and condemnation of the detention.

For the opposition, taking advantage of the Government’s low popularity will not be easy. The opposition lacks access to the media and has precarious financing. If its leadership were to be jailed, the battle would become even more uphill to obtain 2/3 of the Deputies in the National Assembly. Any possible Electoral discrepancies would never be investigated, Chavismo would achieve its goal of keeping power no matter what. Clearly, there seems to be no one that opposes Maduro within the Government at this time.

Going forward repression is likely to increase as the Government sets aside any pretense of being democratic.

Not pretty!


31 Responses to “Caracas Mayor Ledezma Arrested”

  1. Ira Says:

    Have you guys seen this video yet?

    She has more balls than most of the men in VZ:

  2. Firepigette Says:

    M astera that….only the criminals can use violence and the rest turn their cheek while complaining…..quite a sorry scene really

  3. Shrillary Clinton Says:

    Ive been reading this and Daniels and other blogs since at least the mid-2000s…..same content….bitch bitch bitch, whine whine whine… when are you people going to get off your asses and start shooting Cubans and red shirts? It aint gonna change until you do….

    • m_astera Says:

      Worldwide, government schooling and the mainstream media have spent the last 50 years brainwashing young people with the idea that not only is non-violent civil disobedience effective but it is the only choice. Gandhi and MLK Jr have been sanctified. Few seem to notice that the government never uses non-violent means to get its way. There is always at least the implicit threat of imprisonment, injury, death, and loss of property. I’m sure those who claim the monopoly on violence are very satisfied with the results of their brainwashing operation.

  4. Dean A Nash Says:

    It’s long been clear that the government is acting contrary to its citizens natural rights. And equally clear that the vast majority of Venezuelans (even the opposition) don’t fully understand their present danger. The current shortages pale in comparison to what comes next.

  5. nacazo Says:

    Ledezma should have surrounded himself with 30 bodyguards like Chavez’ brother does. Since they didn’t produce an arrest warrant, the bodyguards should start shooting and ask questions later and blame any results on fear of criminality.

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    • Noel Says:

      Interesting, where is it taken from?

      • I don’t think its from one of his books. When I was young in Cuba I read “A day in the life of Ivan”. My dad used to keep forbidden books. Later, when I lived in Russia I met a man whose parents had been sent to The Vorkuta mines. From what he told me the mines were horrible places. But I also read Valladares, and I imagine the cuban directorate of intelligence has been training the venezuelans. I wouldn’t let them take me to one of their jails. The better option is to get out of the country.

      • BoludoTejano Says:

        Gulag Archipelago, Volume I, Chapter 1, Page 13, footnote 5
        Confirmed for both hard copy and for electronic copy.

    • Sales Man Says:

      Without the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, the First is meaningless.

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      I enjoyed that quote from Solzhenitsyn as well. Thanks for posting it.

  6. GeronL Says:

    If the opposition manages to win a 2/3rds majority, and the government can’t fix the vote enough, I fully expect a violent response from the government and a Presidential decree abolishing the assembly.

    • The opposition won’t even win a majority. This would be objectionable to the revolution.

      Put yourselves in Maduro’s and Cabello’s shoes. They have performed so poorly and allowed so much lawbreaking they really can’t give up power. Then factor in the communist tendency to disregard the popular will once they are in power, and the reaction of the extremist ranks within the PSUV, and it’s clear the only “solution” is an internal chavista revolt. But the cuban security services have a very sophisticated intelligence apparatus.

      My conclusion is that venezuela is done for. It’s over. It’s going to be a cuban colony. And cuba will remain an ugly dictatorship, in part because we got so many venezuelans who think it’s covenient to sell cubans into slavery.

    • Jeff Says:

      Are you really still, STILL, expecting results from elections? You must also be expecting Daniel’s fabulous Excel spreadsheets and linear programming charts analyzing the probabilities of the candidates. Good luck with that!

  7. Noel Says:

    Latest communique of OAS secretary general Insulza is quite disappointing, as usual. He doesn’t condemn Ledezma’s arrest, just says it caused alarm.

    Finally, he seems to put the opposition and the government on the same level by stating that it is up to both of them to hold a democratic dialog.

    • BoludoTejano Says:

      Unfortunately, Insulza’s response is not surprising.

    • bythefault Says:

      It is the nature of diplomats to leave doors open. If the OAS were to condemn the arrest of Ledezma it would effectively marginalize what little influence it has. Moreover, the OAS is a regional body that must represent the view of all of its members. Given that some of these include ALBA nations, “alarm” is about the best it can do.

      Latin American governments are in a bind, the long-standing policy is to not make statements that would appear intrusive or viewed as interfering in the internal affairs of other Latin nations. Only Colombia and Chile have made definitive statements. Brazil and Mexico, the other two of importance, have as far as I am aware of at this hour, been totally silent. A few other individuals, such as the mayors of Quito and Bueno Aires, released statements condemning the arrest. And late today, the opposition in Uruguay called on its Foreign Minister to issue a statement.

      But these are only public statements. Who knows what is being communicated via private channels? More disappointing is the view of former Colombian president Ernesto Samper Pizano, now the Secretary General of UNASUR, who said today that Venezuela’s crisis was the result of falling oil prices that has resulted in shortages but that ultimately the events were due to “international interference.”

  8. GeronL Says:

    I am surprised it took this long to start rounding up opposition leaders.

  9. Noel Says:

    Clearly, the Obama opening to Cuba to encourage democracy is not working. So far, only former presidents (Pinera, Pastrana, Clinton) speaking up… not a pretty picture overseas either.

  10. firepigette Says:

    Government no longer pretending? Such a shame that more people are fooled by image….the ability to see what is really there should be the only requirement to vote

  11. FrankPintor Says:

    It’s really nasty, Caracas is the wild west now, shooting in the air, black SUVs with no numberplates charging at high speed through the city centre.

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