Reports from Cuba’s Venezuela: Things you may not wonder about Leopoldo Lopez trial, a mere ‘Caracas Trial’
Things you may not wonder about Leopoldo Lopez trial, a mere "Caracas Trial"
Today the long awaited trial of Leopoldo Lopez (together with 4 students that should be tried separately, if at all) has started. I am not going to bother the reader with the sordid details.
For one, we all know what the verdict will be: guilty. The only thing that remains to be seen is how long the trial will be and to which extent the regime will dare apply punishment. We already have a hint as the second session is already scheduled for August 6, and since judicial holidays are coming the third session may be pushed all the way to September. As it has been the case for all political trials (judge Afiuni anyone?) the regime loves to linger on those trials, even if it does not have the facts, even if it is an open masquerade. The point here is to inspire fear in future opponents so they await for public lynching if they dare oppose the regime. Totalitarianism of the XXI century, my friends, deal with it.
So what is left to wonder, to come to the title of this post.
The first thing, oddly, is the timing. Since Lopez arrest 5 months ago and the alleged clear evidence one wonders why did it take so long for the regime to start the trial. Waiting for the end of guarimbas? A trial can restart them at any time. Waiting for folks to go on vacation? There are no flights out! Expecting for scarcity problems to soften? They are not and will not for the foreseeable future. The answer is elsewhere, with the PSUV congress about to open. Some red meat thrown to the radical wing. Period, IMHO.
Another thing to wonder comes by asking the reverse question: why bother trying Lopez anyway? International pressure plays a role here, but not necessarily the way you may think. Sure enough there has been plenty of publications, the Washington Post for one pushing up the subject of Lopez dismal jail conditions. But the real deal brokers may be the people trying to organize Venezuela's financial rescue.See, the Chinese of the French bank Lazard, to name some, could not care less about Leopoldo Lopez. They may even like him to stay in jail because if he were to be elected president someday he could default on debt on the grounds of corruption, grounds that Lazard and visiting Xi Jinping know very well exist. However, any "package" that creditors may agree on has already weak chances of success and they all want to increase the odds of success by the regime bringing some political peace, at least while the negotiations and agreements are reached. The problem then will not come from Lopez but from chavistas. For that we have the armed forces to use. Never mind that hanging Lopez could be a nice distraction while, say, the increase in gas price is announced, a small price for the chavista lumpen to pay for having Lopez guiltyfied (not a word but how so meaningful!).
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