Leopoldo López’s future electoral viability bolstered

75ee4dce8505ffafbb9c6738baef4As the regime moves to put Leopoldo López in jail for the mother of all cold cases, I can’t help but wonder: Has chavismo really thought this one through? Fast forward a few years, and a stint jail could well be the crowning glory of a politician’s resumé.

My guess is that once the wreckage of the Chávez era is cleared, experience as a political prisoner is going to be an invaluable political asset – unassailable proof that you were all in against chavista autocracy.

As expected, Chávez’s passing from the scene is leading to a sharp spike in the regime’s authoritarianism. For guys like LL, that process will be far from pleasant.

And yet, as a rite of passage, nothing bolsters credibility as a stint in jail.

38 thoughts on “Leopoldo López’s future electoral viability bolstered

  1. I agree. And this further divides the opposition (and hurts Enrique’s cause). Hard to see this as a casual move – it’s completely on purpose.


  2. This is very important:

    – First, it is a politician in the mainstream of opposition politics. One of the results of the 2012 cycle is that VP became part of the core of the MUD, instead of outside looking in.

    – That this comes at the time when he’s channeling some of the “street heat” regarding the Cuban Embassy, comes as a great credibility boost to him in front of the “radical” opposition (who went cold on him after the October election).

    – This also proves that Diosdado’s (or Maduro’s) hold on the Ministerio Público and the Judiciary is not as direct as that of Chavez…

    – It could also work favorably for the MUD as it seemed very much united behind PJ after it was been vilified, and this is an aftershock from that affair. Moreover, Capriles can now be the champion of a more mainstream political prisoner, and the work the MUD has done in behalf of other political prisoners might be better publicised.

    But, in any other order of things, it is a preposterous charge.


    • – This also proves that Diosdado’s (or Maduro’s) hold on the Ministerio Público and the Judiciary is not as direct as that of Chavez…

      Can you elaborate? That didn’t come through for me as clearly…


      • I am under the impression that, before, once Chavez made an off-the-cuff indictment, the MP would act immediately. This took over two weeks, so I’m just guessing some people had to be alerted to the fact that the PSUV line had to be followed.


      • Well I don’t know if this is someone in The Attorney’s general office that is thinking how to jalar y a quien , better ganar indulgencias con escapulario ajeno, with something , like let me do that so they will know I’m with them (and of course they don’t know that the guy is not even with PJ , and that is so plausible , I know for personal experience (I not because I was in a political party, but for something that almost ended with the Disip on it only because the people worked in oil and were Americans)
        So one there is the magic trick because with the new Menme of chavez, the need some circus… two as VP had that guy Nuñez…well they are attacking another “MUD PARTY”


  3. Jail and being a real descendant of Bolivar, not bad, he is a great guy. Either him or Henrique would be great Presidents. Young, educated, smart, imagine that!


    • yes, the upside of a father and talented leader going to jail is beyond me, but Venezuelan politics is beyond me. If he wants to follow the traditional path to power he might be better off spending a year drinking and whoring with some militares out Sabaneta way.


  4. It’s true. Capriles constantly remembered his time in prision during his campaign, and most of all, how he faced the unfair judiciary system in the country without escaping (like Rosales). Prison is in most resumes of former Venezuelan presidents, and in this last few years it helped putting back in the map politicians like Oswaldo Álvarez Paz and Congressman Richar Blanco


  5. I am a regular reader.
    My first post.

    To be open, I am 28 and PJ partisan since 4 a go, currently I held a mid range charge in his structure, in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
    However I want to speak as reader and I am try to write as such.
    Therefore you can consider my opinion bias or other, but I like to comment.

    It is a well known fact that spent a time in prison can be use at a political badge, this is however not help for Lopez ir his mom who will face very strong times.

    The intention of this is to destroy the hope of the people in a political solution of the problem, despite the difference that PJ and López had, he was one of us, and is charge by an act during that time, so we are in the picture for that and the other situations like the AN show we must keep that in mind, I give him and his family all the support necesary and stand by him in this matter.

    What this people fears the most is and organized and clear oposition, by charging Leopoldo they atack him and his leadership, who is real and present a problem to them, but they also atack the MUD, PJ and none other that HCR, the conections are evidents.

    So this can be one of two things, a master blow to and strong leader and a potential emergin one or a big mistake, in the short term they take out López of the picture clearing more so the way for HCR and in the long they strengt its political curriculum, and whether is one or the other (master blow or big mistake) it will depent more and more in the result of the now more aparently upcoming presidential elecction.

    In this time I do no speak for PJ, I still consider more know than ever that HCR its the frontrunner with the best chance and little can be done to change that.
    I regulary said to friends and family, something that I read here, If we loose it will not be the end, the man is ill and there will be and elecction and as cruel and calculative at is sound we must not forget that, take fore sure this foes who run the goverment have not and we must act with that in mind.

    Sorry for any spelling mistake, english is not my first language.


  6. “And yet, as a rite of passage, nothing bolsters credibility as a stint in jail.”

    On a charge of corruption! I think not.


    • “I committed a crime in 1998 as a protest against the Chavez government”.

      Yep, that makes sense. Good luck selling that idea.


      • “I was jailed for protesting against the Chavez government, with the pretense of something that supposedly happened 15 years ago.”

        That’s better.


        • …. having already been banned from holding elected office, in violation of international treaties and the Venezuelan constitution, not to mention denied the right to a hearing (http://www.cidh.org/demandas/12.668%20Leopoldo%20Lopez%20Venezuela%2014dic09%20ESP.pdf). The Chavez regime then went on to renege on its obligation to respect rulings of the Inter American Human Rights Court.

          Being formally accused might actually be considered a step forward in this case, ironically enough, since for the first time Lopez and his mother may be granted their day in court (admittedly, a court with no autonomy whatsoever, which takes instructions from the government).

          Compared with what LL is alleged to have done, the government’s illegal and unconstitutional behaviour in relation to his case is infinitely more serious. Quite a few government officials should actually be behind bars for their use of public office to pursue political vendettas. Seems to me that, to any impartial observer, LL has a rock-solid case that he is the victim of political persecution.

          Without wishing to establish any kind of exact parallel, one might note that Nelson Mandela and his fellow prisoners had also ‘committed crimes’ under the laws of the apartheid state, and some which would be considered crimes anywhere. Didn’t stop them sweeping to electoral victory when finally released.


            • Well, at the risk of labouring the point (for those who already get it): the apartheid state used a rigged justice system to send anti-apartheid activists to jail. But despite its authoritarian grip on the media and its powerful security apparatus, it was ultimately unable to defeat the ideas they represented. And those jailed in this way became the ‘founding fathers’ of democratic South Africa. Their time behind bars was a ‘plus’ on their resumes.

              The Bolivarian republic uses a rigged justice system in an attempt to discredit and render impotent its political opponents. The guilty (one might mention the protagonists of Pudreval or the Antonini Wilson scandal, but the list goes on and on and on …) walk free, while the jails fill up with those the regime wants to remove from circulation or use as examples to strike fear into the rest. Some will grow sick and old in jail, some may die. But in the long term, as history has proven over and over again, those who stand up to such bullying are the victors. And you are right on one point: there’s very little future in politics for those that run away.


              • What really gets me is the catastrophic absence of self-insight. I mean, chavistas indicting someone over the political misuse of PDVSA resources?!

                Really, does nobody on their side sees the teeniest tiniest bit of irony here?!?

                Let’s review the score – these are the same people who were in charge when the Guarapiche pipeline burst, contaminating the drinking water for an entire city (a story that touches closer to home for Donacobius than most) because they’d taken key PDVSA staff off the job for the day (4F) to bus them to Caracas so they could celebrate a coup! And these are the people threatening to jail others for political misuse of PDVSA!? Osea, en serio!?

                Forget about handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500, these guys are giving a ticket to the pace car…


        • I’ll say this. If he agrees to cooperate with the legal proceedings, then I myself would actually reserve certain respect for him, unlike those innumerable cowards who fled Venezuela to become fugitives of justice rather than face consequences for their crimes.


          • GAC: you mean the consequences of a facing a stacked court with Chávez issuing decrees that did not respect the constitution, as known by Aponte Aponte, who never cowardly hid behind multiple aliasses the way you do?


          • wow. REALLY? Let me suggest that instead of referring to yourself as “I myself”, you just capitalize “Myself” and any other reference to yourself.


    • Challenges of the intellectually challenged left …

      “I committed a crime in 1992 against the State, I and my cronies killed 100 innocent civilians, and I ran and hid in the military museum, only to crap in my pants from fear, before I was jailed, only to be released by a subsequent government. … Yep, that makes sense. Good luck selling that idea.”


      • Ummm, I don’t have it sell it. It sold. Without question. Because the vast majority of the Venezuelan people supported the coup. They do not now feel the same way towards Chavez as they did towards Carlos Andres Perez, it’s just you folks in the minority.

        And where do you get this “100 innocent civilians” figure, from out of your ass? Last I checked, every historical account puts the number at 19, most of whom were soldiers.


        • I think you’re forgetting the 27 November coup, which is also cheerfully claimed by Chavez and celebrated every year. Scores of innocent civilians died in that one. And unless I’m mistaken, Syd was being ironic. The point being that Chavez’s crimes were much worse than the allegedly corrupt act that Lopez was involved in, and that didn’t stop large numbers of people considering him a hero. As for the opposition being ‘the minority’, history – and politics – has a strange way of turning minorities into majorities. Otherwise the infinitesimally small, pro-Cuban minority of the Venezuelan population that supported guerrilla warfare back in the 1960s wouldn’t find themselves in power today. It is to be hoped that when today’s (very large) minority become the government, they don’t decide to use the apparatus of state to exact vengeance, as this lot have.


  7. Well that’s logic on those chavista intentions. I mean, who can became famous for being in prison after some kind of crime against the goverment? Like they don’t know anyone who went to prison and became even mnore famous after they came out, or even when they were inside. Kinda idiotic, right?

    Waaaaaaait a minute….


  8. The merits of a prison term in new-regime politics varies. ISTR that in the Irish Free State for a long time, to get anywhere in politics one had to have been “out” in 1916 – that is, part of the Easter Rising.

    But really, this is very feeble. If I was the Chavista in charge of destroying oppo leaders, I’d bring much nastier and much more current charges. I don’t know that Lopez would be vulnerable to a charge of rape or murder, but I bet I could extort someone close to him into helping frame up a charge of bribery, embezzlement, or something similar.

    WIth control of the judiciary and press, Lopez could be railroaded.


  9. just one additional smoke screen. . . they really want to direct people’s attention away from the devaluation and its consequences


  10. Quico, stuff like irony, self-insight – even the concept of fairness or justice – are not available to people who can’t do abstract thinking.


  11. Under Pdvsa’s conflict of interest rules any money, benefit , help,gifts , use of assets allowed PSUV or its cronies by Pdvsa is a breach of such Rules and makes the Pdvsa employee allowing such breach the subject of both criminal and civil responsability , the same under the former Ley de Salvaguarda. . I dont get what specificaly is it that LL and his mother did that allows them to be charged under such rules but exempts the current Pdvsa management form any similar or worse charges . Indeed a conflict of interest situation did not by itself entail an act of corruption but only the possibility that one might ocurr because of the circumstances , moreover the Corporate body in charge of enforcing the rule might make exceptions or simply require that it there was any family relationship between the Pdvsa body authorizing a donation and a member of the entity recieving it the former would simply abstain from participating in the decision to authorize such donation and everything would be OK. There are a lot of things which we dont know and a lot of details that the devotees of the darling leader leave unsaid when accusing Mr LL of corruption .


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