Miserable Decision Against Leopoldo Lopez No Surprise

September 12, 2015


I have been traveling and ever since I heard about the miserable thirteen years and nine months sentence against Leopoldo López, I have been trying to put together my thoughts on the matter, but it is not easy.

Not that I did not expect it, I did. Leopoldo López was identified early by Chavismo as someone that needed to be neutralized. When he was Mayor of Chacao he was barred from running for office for seven years using a procedure via the Comptroller which had no legality, but which stopped him at the time from running for office. The excuse was that López used some funds to pay salaries earmarked for something else. Of course, no equivalent decision was made against Nelson Merentes who used billions of dollars, not millions of Bolívars for the same purpose as López. But, of course, Merentes has never been interested in being elected, he prefers being named to positions he is not qualified for. But I digress….

Rather than being deterred by his ban from running, López began forming a party and took his case to the OAS’s CIDH, which ruled in his favor. He then ran in the opposition’s primary in 2012, withdrawing and supporting  Capriles who was clearly leading the polls. He was an invaluable asset to Capriles, developing the strategy to have witnesses at polling stations, which limited phantom votes by Chavismo. He helped Capriles end up in a virtual tie with Maduro in 2013, but we all know how that was untied.

Then in 2014, Leopoldo embraced the controversial “La Salida” strategy, in the understanding that if you don’t poke a Dictatorship in the eye, the monster does not leave power. After some demonstrations ended up in deaths, most provoked directly by Government agents, the Maduro Government charged Leopoldo with “subliminally” inducing the violence leading to these deaths, initiating the travesty of the judicial process that just ended. Lopez was not allowed to present as evidence videos that demonstrated that the charges by the Government were false. The trial was closed to the public and López was sentenced to more yeas than Chavismo will remain in power, proving once again the stupidity and shortsightedness of autocrats. Curious that the Judge sentencing Lopez was the same that quietly freed some prominent Chavista boliburgeois on December 31st 2012, who had accumulated fortunes in a short time and were jailed during the 2009 mini-banking crisis.

And Leopoldo has been poking at the regime like no other politician, even from jail. First, he refused to leave the country opting instead to go to jail. Then he went on a hunger strike which he stopped when he wanted to, not when the regime wanted. And he has been communicating from jail, embarrassing the regime over and over.

And his wife Lilian has taken over a role that I am not sure she ever planned to. She has been impressive an relentless, helping to convince the world that Venezuela is far from being a democracy or be a country in which justice or due process exist.

But one has to feel for Leopoldo and his family. I don’t know Inesita La Terrible, a scientist who was jailed for her tweets, but I feel for her, because she got her Ph.D. at IVIC and I would have known her if I had not left science.

But I do know Leopoldo and his wife. Not closely, but I have had some serious conversations with him and I was always impressed at his commitment and his willingess to listen and understand. Even if he is committed, even if he sees this as a necessary step, he must be having a very rough time. And I can not even begin to imagine what he is going through.

But the fatal mistake by the regime is, like many other repressive regimes before them, that they have managed to lift Leopoldo to another level. A level that one day will take him very far in Venezuela. And by fighting and poking the regime in the eye, he wold have deserved it. No other politician has come that close to staking everything on removing Chavismo like Leopoldo. If they had, maybe we would not be where we are. I am in the radical camp, you need to poke and stir as often as possible, make the regime react. If not, we will be in the same spot decades from now.

To me, the miserable decision against Leopoldo, does little for the Government, except in that it removes him as an organizer in the upcoming election. But few Chavistas will be encouraged to go and vote because he has been sentenced. On the contrary, at a time that so many former pro-Chavismo and even Chavismo supporters are questioning the Government, jailing Leopoldo, who is very popular in all levels of society, only adds to the doubts.

And the MUD should take the jailing as a warning. A warning that Chavismo will not play fair in December. And that with Leopoldo absent, our ability to stop fraud is reduced. And the decisiveness to act on Dec. 6th. and 7th. when Chavismo decides to manipulate results, will not be there, but in the Ramo Verde jail.


58 Responses to “Miserable Decision Against Leopoldo Lopez No Surprise”

  1. Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

    No public protests for Capriles. What a dumb, under-educated, jealous knuckle-head.

  2. onetrillionzimbas Says:

  3. About the Sukhoi crash Says:

    the Sukhoi SU-30Mk2 that crashed on Colombian frontier was on patrol. The version given by the regime is BS. The Mk2 was on a new patrol route doing show-of0force to intimidate Colombia (Colombia has 4 old jets in fligh ready status)…big disbalance of airpower and air defense in Venezuela favor. Time to buy weapons. It’s possible that another aircraft was nearby leading to an intercept but the original flight plan was patrol. At this moment pilot error and both pilots dead is the story.

    • Ira Says:

      I would say equipment malfunction is highly more likely than pilot error.

      • Sukhoi update Says:

        PIlot error… CFIT during NOE. En criollo: se mataron volando muy bajo y de noche. No time to eject. What where they doing? It seems this was a staged incident gone bad. There was no other drug plane. They died because they pushed the limits of man and machine. They where not mature enough to realize the stupidity of their stunt. They basically flew into the ground. The details are known and should come out.

      • Sukhoi update Says:

        trust me I’m lead analyst on this

      • Sukhoi update Says:

        pilot error more likey with FAV. The two dead pilots 32 and 33 graduating from flight academy in 2006. No experience doing what they where doing which is nap of the earth flying in less than flat terrain under less than ideal conditions: night time and no night vision goggles or terrain following radar for example. They where flying by the seat of their pants using altimeter and external visual cues. They where going very fast at about 200 ft from the ground and suddenly the ground came up on them (a hill) and there was no time to react. They did not suffer.

      • Sukhoi update Says:

        pending: did those Sukhois fly into Colombia prior to the crash? Reliable preliminary unconfirmed report: yes. The Colombians may not say anything about this incursion because they gain nothing. Better to watch the unfolding drama. Gag order in place with all Air Force personnel. Operational security the order of the day. They are trying to control leaks and this is one big sieve. La tropa y el personal de aviacion saben los detalles.

        • Sukhoi update Says:

          what was the mission objective? (preliminary) to sow fear into Colombian troops stationed along frontier. It’s a bit of psychological operations. The Sukhois overflew Colombian field positions prior to crashing. Had the mission suceeded, those Colombian troops would have heard next day about the Sukhois ground attack during the previous night. The message to those troops: Sukhois can get you night or day. You are not safe.

          The failed staged mission also had interal component for domestic consumption.

          This is what happens when you loose track of reality and try to make your own reality. Case study for air forces round the world.

        • RobertoN Says:

          Missing from your reporting is the fact that by coincidence those two pilots were the main witnesses AGAINST the govt in the case of the “Golpe Azul”, a theoretical coup plan against Maduro that was “revealed” early this year. This is the plan that had a Colombian air force “Tucan” trainer plane “bombing” Caracas and Miraflores in particular.

          Capt. Laided Salazar is in a civilian prison and under reported torture for her supposed role in this “umpteenth magnicidio” plan. The pilots testimony would have gone far in demonstrating her innocence.

          In just another show of this government’s cruelty, Leopoldo Lopez, a civilian, is in a military jail and Capt. Salazar in a civilian one.

          Cosas veredes, Sancho! Cosas Veredes!!!!

  4. onetrillionzimbas Says:

    mas q equivcados , muchos odios

  5. onetrillionzimbas Says:

  6. Vitor Says:

    My predictions:

    1 -coming december elections, most venezuelans will vote for the opposition, Maudo won’t accept that either by fraud or by arresting the oposition. Massive protests will ensue, and with them, some violencie too
    2 – In 1 or 2 years, the goverment will crumble to avoid a civil war. If there is a civil war, it would last 3 or 4 years.
    3 – Leopoldo will be a new Mandela once he gets out of jail, but without being a terrorist commie like Mandela.

  7. Tanya Says:

    Two weeks general strike. Its all over. No one has the balls. Weak as piss. Lets live under a dictatorship because I am too worthless to sacrifice two weeks of my miserable, piss ant existence. Good luck to all of you arse holes. I grew up in Zimbabwe. This is your last shot. Make the most of it,

  8. Tanya Says:

    ayyy pappy! This isn’t what we wanted. We voted for something else. You got exactly what you voted for. I hope it works out for you.

  9. Ira Says:


    There’s a lot of news about the judge, who was rejected as a diplomat to Chile…and an open letter from one of her former law teachers condemning her…

    Except I can’t find the damn news in English!

    Y mi espanol es mierda.

    • I wouldn’t pick on her. She may be afraid of jail and being raped like Afiuni.

      • Roy Says:

        When a public official or military officer is faced with a conflict between their orders and their legal and moral duty, there is only one correct action: Resign

        To carry out orders they know to be morally wrong is immoral. No one can escape moral or legal culpability by claiming “I was just following orders.” This principle of law was firmly established by the Nuremberg Trials.

  10. I agree ! Who is going to understand that unless Chavismo gives up, which I doubt greatly, as Castro’s have not given up nor Communist China Government, Venezuela could be in for a never ending story of Chavismo…!

    I would brace for this reality, and not live off false short lived hopes…!

    But believe me, if you believe in miracles like a good Catholic, you still might believe in a miracle happening!





    …me corro en saber que le puede pasar a Ledezshma…!

    …metodo constante: participacion politica y eliminacion…! militares en huelga de hambre o en manifestacion, para ir depurando efectivamente…!

    …esto es fabuloso/amazing…!

    …lo que no hicieron bien los gafos de la 4ta republica…!

    Vanessa Ledezma ‏@vaneleca 21h21 hours ago
    Faltan 10 dias para la #AudienciaDeLedezma pido libertad plena para mi padre @alcaldeledezma #LiberenALedezma

  11. nacao Says:

    I hope to be wrong, but based on what happened in Cuba, Chavism will win through fraud or whichever means in December. If they lose, they will use any excuse to ignore the elections. Society will be militarized and there will be a long period of Chavism in power. There will be some protests which will be repressed harshly (look up Escambray rebellion).

    • Morpheous Says:

      That’s sadly the most likely outcome. However, I think everybody should still go to vote. It’s a bet where we would loose very little (or nothing), but we may win a lot if we win. Only a moron would not bet in such conditions. If there is another way to change the government, I would love to hear about it. Meanwhile, I would suggest not to discourage people from voting.

      • Dean A Nash Says:

        There is no progress without sacrifice. How about surrounding Miraflores and putting your life on the line? 50K should do it. Yes, some will die. Freedom isn’t free. (I’m eternally grateful that my forefathers made that sacrifice. I’m not sure that I would have the same courage.) This is the bottom line. It’s why electing Chavez in the first place – a coupster – was such a tragic mistake.

        • It won’t work. I’m sorry, but you don’t know them. The only ground where Venezuelans win is the labor front. Stop working.

          • Dean A Nash Says:

            Inherent in my idea is that people would stop working – they’d be in front of Miraflores. But I’m under no delusions. It’s not because, as you say “it won’t work”, it would work. I think perhaps you meant that “Venezuelans won’t do it.” If this is your point, I concur.

          • RobertoN Says:

            The way things are going, you’d have to let those 50K know that there will also be a MERCAL set up nearby so they can shop AND protest too.

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      I also agree that we must all vote IF there is an election which I highly doubt.

      There is not much they can do in the short time left to alleviate the problems. Even if they have huge stocks of goods hidden away which I doubt (someone would be talking) they won’t change the idea that they are a complete failure.

  12. The decision is intended to show that leaders who call for peaceful protests will receive 14 year jail sentences. This is intended to stop protests after they rig the election results.

    This means the sentence can’t go unanswered. The proper response is to stop working. Chavistas are social parasites, they can’t get anything useful done.

    • Noel Says:

      I expect that Raul Castro, at the suggestion of his new friend Obama, will call Maduro to intercede on behalf of Lopez. He might even offer safe passage to Florida via Cuba. Isn’t Cuba the New Democratic beacon in Latin America?

      • I know Venezuelans have a hard time facing it, but I bet Maduro ran the Lopez move by the Cubans. The February 2014 shootings may have been pre planned. The whole thing smells like Cuban interior ministry. Hell, might as well tell you, I’m related to some of them.

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      Lopez has already said he won’t leave Venezuela.

  13. Charlie Says:

    I understand Lopez called for a march on the 19th. If it has a turn out as poor as last time, it will actually do more harm than anything else. People seem to feel that marches do not accomplish anything, they’re tired of spending so many hour every week waiting in line to get a handful of basic products, and most importantly they’re afraid.

  14. Roberto N Says:

    Someone whose opinion I value greatly stated that the regime even screwed up in the sentencing.

    Had they condemned him to say, 3 or 4 years instead of almost 14 years, then many in Venezuela would have shrugged their shoulders and said:” 3-4 years? Not so bad. He’ll be out before you know it”

    But with a 14 year sentence? That will be seen as harsh by just about everyone. I’m sure there will be quite a bit of sympathy generated in Ni Ni’s and even many “Chavista Light” types.

    Not to mention folks outside Venezuela.

    • Ira Says:

      My thoughts exactly.

      But it still wouldn’t minimize the effects of this travesty all that much, since the argument would be made this will nullify his influence in upcoming elections.

      Which they tried to do by arresting him in the first place.

      They call it a zero sum game, I think, the definition of which I really don’t understand and haven’t bothered to research yet. But I agree:

      The LENGTH of the sentence makes no sense at all from a Chavista standpoint, and certainly any guilty sentence not from a legal one.

    • Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

      Of course they screwed up, Royally. They could have gone for the Ceballos/Ledezma “home-for-prison” sentence, with lots of restrictions, and then at the slightest protests after the next stolen “elections”, put him back in prison with false “guarimba” allegations.

  15. Gordon cooper Says:

    Youre concerning urself with the frívolous. As if electoral fraud spells their doom. What happens will happen damn the results or how they get there.

  16. Ira Says:

    I don’t see how the administration can steal this election without disastrous results for them:

    The current polls indicate overwhelming defeat, and you can’t spin any other result any more convincingly than Castro claimed to have won 100% of the vote for so many years in a row.

    • Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

      Arranging a 55% “victory” for the MUD will suffice. Nothing will change in the so-called “Parliament” or the country, of course.

      • Ira Says:

        But it’s so impossible that everyone will know it.

        • Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

          60% still love Chavez and Chavismo.
          28% still support even Maduro/Cabello
          1.5 Million of the few educated professionals are GONE.
          The rest is incredibly uneducated or corrupt, or both.
          The USA and Europe loves Cuba1. They’ll get used to Cubazuela.

  17. Bill Casey Says:

    What’s interesting is that Roberto Lovato was used. Now his backers and supporters are silent. Are they going to pay his legal bills? Poor Lovato. His name will now be associated with yellow tabloid journalism. Same goes with FP which has now sunk to yellow tabloid journalism. Word to all the idiots who pretend to defend Lovato: you lost. You idiots have no idea who you are up against.

  18. Noel Says:

    It is outrageous but not surprising: this regime will not accept electoral defeat. Leopoldo Lopez is the only political opponent with guts and charisma, and that is why he was jailed. Ironically, facts have amply proven the point that the MUD and its leaders don’t share these qualities and thus are not “worthy of jailing”.

    Ever since the reelection of Chavez I have believed that the liberation of Venezuela will not be achieved at the voting booth. And I agreed with Miquelina who called for popular demonstration and trying to enlist at least some of the armed forces in an effort to bring back democracy. He said that this would probably entail spilling blood, and I think that he was right.

    Meanwhile, the reaction of the governments in the region is, also as expected, pathetic in its lack of courage and moral principles.

    The future of Latin America, at least in the short and medium term, looks very bleak.

    • Ira Says:

      I agree with 99% of what you say, except this:

      I do believe that this can be turned around at the voting booth, because this current cackle of Chavista thugs could care less about any ideology; it’s only about the money. And I think they’ve stolen most of what they’re going to steal (with accelerated stealing to come), and they see the writing on the wall and are going to get the fuck out of Dodge before it’s too late.

      Now, the thugs lower down the food change need to maintain the status quo…they haven’t had the opportunities to steal enough for that comfortable retirement…but those above them have, and want to protect their nest eggs. And the higher-ups certainly don’t give a shit about the future of the underlings.

      The question is, assuming an overwhelming opposition victory, how much do the Chavistas fear retribution in the ways of jail time and confiscation of wealth, their ill-gotten gains?

      Judging by Latin America’s timid reaction to Chavismo Chavistrocacy (I just made that up!), it appears they don’t have much to fear at all, and can comfortably retire to any number of Caribbean, Central and South American countries without having to look over their shoulders in the least!

      • Noel Says:

        Perhaps, but where to go AND be safe? Certainly not the US, and not Aruba, and not any other place where Interpol could reach them.

        So, they go with all their money to hide in some god forsaken place like North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, etc.? They may be safe from Interpol there, but will be squeezed of their millions by greedy local officials for “protection”?

        Why not then stay put on the terrain you know and fight on more ferociously?

        • Ira Says:

          I don’t know how Interpol functions, but from what I’ve seen in the past, political malfeasance and the absconding of state funds hardly qualifies as their areas of interest/activity.

  19. The fix is multiple. smartmatic is no more than 5% these days if oppo has 95% presence in polling stations. The rest is geography and dirty tricks. Howver, everyday that goes by more Chavistas are deciding not to go out and vote. For Chavismo is a race against time, el pueblo esta arrecho.

    • Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

      Where are the limits of a Smartmatic fix, technically speaking?

      The Fraud, this time, will be massive. To turn 80% disaproval into 55% will require every trick on the tool box. They will need to use Smartmatic manipulations much more, how do you know there’s a limit there?

  20. Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

    “And that with Leopoldo absent, our ability to stop fraud is reduced”

    Seems like many people have not heard of Chavez’s atrocious baby, “Smartmatic”, or el Mago Rodriguez and Delcy who are highly trained to manipulate results. As they did before, last minute, or as Dilma did in Brazil.

    Besides several Dozen tricks like Gerrymandering, no cuadernos, false cedulas, bribes, threats, etc, etc, etc, they can do whatever they please on Dec 6 to get exactly the result they want. Final adjustments with Smartmatic, y listo el pollo. Leopoldo or no Leopoldo.

    Lopez’s presence is feared after the next obvious Fraud, say a 55% “win” for the MUD. which will mean nothing, of course. Otherwise they could have given him “casa-por-prision” for years, and appease public opinion. I suspect Leopoldo knows this, he’s getting stronger every month now, more popular in jail than free. And he probably also knows that the Criminal Dictatorship will not go away with any fake “elections”, but by force. He did say “El Pueblo with take way the hand-cuffs”, didn’t he.. and it won’t be pretty.

    • Tony Says:

      Tony, Miguel is an expert on the use of Smartmatic and electoral fraud. If I recall, in 2004 they could easily pad 7 points in their favor and it would go undetected. Any more than 10 point spread and the cheat is visible. They dont need Smartmatic for this. However, if they use the machines to cheat, that should also be detectabe. Smartmatic is a mute point. The fix is in one way or another.

  21. Ray Vercoro Says:

    short of lawsuite, its obvious that demand letters are been exchanged among the various parties.

  22. Ray Vercoro Says:

    Suspect that Roberto Lovato coordinated with Greg Wilpert and Eva Golinger on the FP hit piece…. Greg Wilpert is connected to Lovato and Greg Grandin at The Nation. Eva is also in this loop. They are the backstage actors who are spinning this. Lawsuits underway and I wonder who is going to pay Lovato’s legal bills because the bloke is obviously too broke to afford an attorney.

  23. Ray Vercoro Says:

    Miguel, thanks for the update. On a related note, check out Erik Wemple at WP regarding the Roberto Lovato FP hit piece against Leo and Burelli https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/09/11/foreign-policy-magazine-runs-seven-correctionclarificationupdate-things-on-piece-about-venezuelan-politico/.

  24. Paul Esqueda Says:

    Long live Leopoldo

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