How does a trial for a political prisoner in Venezuela turnout? The fourteen year sentence issued to the popular Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on September 10th, 2015, surely gives away that the outcome is not favorable. But forget the outcome, what about the process? Given Lopez’s commitment to democracy, this question of “procedure” may be self explanatory…
UNASUR’s statement that it would not question the judicial decisions of its member states over the recent sentencing of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was as predictable as it was troubling. It’s a perfect example of how the region has regressed, with little respect for its troubled past and a warning of things to come.
Several months ago, former presidents Óscar Arias, Felipe Calderón, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Alejandro Toledo, and Ernesto Zedillo signed an open letter to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro expressing their concern over the deteriorating human rights conditions in the country and political prisoners such as former Mayor of Chacao Leopoldo López. Here is their letter—though little has changed since they signed it.
Even if you don’t agree with the Venezuelan opposition’s call for “la salida” of President Maduro, leaders like Leopoldo Lopez, now in prison almost 15 months, still have the right to demand the resignation of a president–a right Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff rightly supported in her country. Here’s his parents’ story.