General Raúl Baduel was granted parole yesterday after serving six years out of an eight year sentence on trumped up charges of embezzlement. Chávez’s one-time Defense Minister, and the man who organized his return to power by mobilizing the Parachute Regiment in his defense on April 13, 2002, General Baduel had been tried on transparently bogus charges shortly after going rogue and criticizing Chávez’s authoritarian turn in 2006.
His family thanked Ombudsman Tarek William Saab for pushing for Baduel’s release. Saab had also obliquely claimed credit, a day earlier, for the early parole of jailed San Cristobal mayor Daniel Ceballos, claiming – absurdly – that the measure demonstrates the strength of the rule of law in Venezuela.
Both Baduel and Ceballos will need to meet tough parole conditions to avoid returning to jail. Such conditions often include bans on speaking publicly.
What does it all mean? It’s hard to say. Could it be that Tarek William Saab is trying to steer the government to release high-profile political prisoners? Looks that way, doesn’t it?