Juan Cristobal Nagel links to Roberto Lovato’s lengthy article in Foreign Policy, The Making of Leopoldo López
A closer look at the democratic bona fides of the rock star of Venezuela’s opposition. As you may recall, Lopez has been jailed since February 2014
on charges of arson, public incitement, and conspiracy
. . .
The judge has been far from friendly to López’s defense, rejecting all but one of the 65 witnesses his attorneys sought to call, while admitting 108 witnesses for the prosecution.
Amnesty International has called López’s trial an affront to justice and free assembly.
Lovato sniffs at Mrs. López, Lilian Tintori,
Later that day, the telegenic Tintori, a former model, kite-surfing champion, and reality show star, appeared at a rally for political prisoners held in Chacao, the Caracas district where her husband once served as mayor and which has been a center of anti-government opposition. It also happens to be one of the wealthiest localities in all of Venezuela. Vibrant in a bright orange windbreaker, with her flawless smile and long blonde hair, Tintori’s strengths as standard-bearer for her jailed husband’s message were on full display.
Would Lovato approve of an unkempt, dowdy scowl, as choice of a wife, if she was in the opposition?
But I digress.
López’s wife, “with her flawless smile and long blonde hair” and all, continues to rally support for her husband, including that of former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez – a prominent figure for the Left – who left Venezuela after not being allowed to visit LL in prison, most recently
Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo López, reported on Friday that she would visit the Venezuelan opposition leader on Friday together with Spanish Senators Iñaki Anasagasti (PNV), José Maldonado (PSOE), Ander Gil García (CyU), Dionisio García (PP) and Uruguayan Pablo Mieres (Independent Party).
So far, all to no effect.
It is worth pointing out that Tintori must resort to getting international attention to her husband’s arrest since the Chavista regime controls all the media and the Venezuelan institutions.
Lovato writes at length about the 2002 Carmona decree (which López did not sign), and his connections to Pedro Burelli, a former JP Morgan executive and pre-Chávez-era PDVSA member of the board of directors, while (emphasis added)
Over the past year, a series of fresh government allegations have begun to take the shine off 2014’s wave of protests. It began with a thinly sourced government report, issued in May of last year. Called “Coup d’état and Assassination Plan Unveiled in Venezuela,” the report places the U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, and two close López allies — María Corina Machado, now leader of the Vente Venezuela party, and López’s old friend and mentor from Harvard, Pedro Burelli — as part of a conspiracy to “annihilate” Maduro and overthrow the government. The plot, according to then-Justice Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres, included political, business, and military leaders, who, he claimed, were the true forces behind the February 2014 street protests. Burelli, who currently lives in McLean, Virginia, is now considered a fugitive from justice by Venezuelan authorities.To back its claims, the government released emails between the alleged plotters, as well as recorded conversations involving Burelli. Burelli denies all charges and hired forensic investigators who say that the emails were forged and that Google has no record of some of them having been sent.
The article also mentions (wiretapped?) conversations of Burelli, which took place after López’s arrest on Feb. 18, 2014 (emphasis added)
voice recordings of [Burelli’s] conversations released by two local elected officials, who say they took place between Feb. 20 and March 14 of last year,
López was initially charged with murder and terrorism, which were later changed to arson, public incitement, and conspiracy, as I mentioned above.
Lovato’s article raises more questions than it answers: Offhand, I can start with,
- I don’t understand Lovato’s point. Is he saying that LL is in jail because of the [alleged] actions of members of his party which took place 13 years ago?
- What do the “fresh government allegations” regarding the emails have to do with the case?
- What did LL say in Burelli’s tapes? Is he in the conversation at all, since he was in jail? If not, what exactly was said about him that may affect the case? Why, indeed, are Burelli’s tapes pertinent to LL’s prosecution and defense at all ?
- Of what exactly is LL currently charged? Since the prosecution changed the charges since LL’s detention, will the current charges be changed again?
The Foreign Policy article ends with this:
This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, with support from the Puffin Foundation.
Caracas Chronicle’s commenter Bill Bass:
According to the FT text the piece was funded sponsored by the Puffin Foundation a NY institution dedicated to “opening the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy.” , it also sponsors the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Association ( the brigade was made up mostly of communist americans who joined the republican spanish army during the spanish civil war)’ which among other things promotes ‘social activitsm.’ Lovato is decribed to be a visiting professor at the Berkeley Latino Studies Department in Berkeley University . Does that suggest to us something of the progressive ideological inclinations of the people ordering the piece, of the likelihood that it includes some ‘progressive’ american Chavez sympathyzers . Why is a foundation dedicated to giving grants to artists and art organizations funding this politically loaded piece ??
By all appearances, Foreign Policy mag has published a sponsored, long-on-words-short-on-evidence piece which struggles to obscure the facts.
That is Foreign Policy‘s failure.