The trial against Leopoldo López, the jailed leader of Venezuela’s opposition, was never expected to be fair. Yet when Judge Susana Barreiros handed down her ruling late last night, sentencing López to 13 years in military prison for inciting violence and other bogus charges, it was a hard blow for his supporters. Many had harbored hopes that he would be freed, or at most be given house arrest.
The ruling is a travesty. Instead of closing a chapter, it marks a deepening of Venezuela’s political and economic collapse. It is also a strategic error on the part of the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
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