Today, after soon three month in jail and no trial in sight, Leopoldo Lopez, political prisoner of the regime has his birthday. With the added bonus that his wife has been banned for visit for a while because the regime did not like an interview she gave to ABC in Spain.
So, has Leopoldo Lopez self sacrifice been worth something?
The point here is that when you are dealing with a dictatorship there is no measure of success. That is, the regime remains or the regime folds, but the timing may be unaccountable to current events and apparent "plus scores". What you must do as an individual, is to do what you think needs to be done and hope for the best, keeping in mind that the grandest gesture has equal chances to topple the regime as the humblest of coincidences.
What Leopoldo unleashed February 12 and etched a few days later when he surrendered to the regime was a double whammy: an international acknowledgment that the Maduro regime is a crass dictatorship and that the Venezuelan opposition was duplicitous. That is why, that is the real reason why Leopoldo Lopez is in jail awaiting a trial that is not coming: too many people from both sides want him in. I do not mean to make some in the opposition sound that cynical, none really want Lopez to rot in jail there forever, but some are not adverse at him remaining in jail for a few months while they secure some form of deal with the regime, a deal where if possible they would figure as the benefactors that managed the release of Lopez.
Of course the regime wants Lopez, and many other, to rot forever in jail, or dead if they could get away with it. The main reason for that hatred with Lopez is that he represents all that they are not, educated individuals, rational, sensible, not seeking revenge for real or imaginary hurts, even good looking. That in addition he made it clear to the world that the regime is a dictatorship managed by thugs is, of course, unforgivable.
What is more troubling is that some in the opposition are not running over each other to make a grand stand and demand Lopez freedom or else. This, in a way, is harder to forgive. But the reason is also simple to understand: the revolt that Lopez represents is the one from a group of Venezuelans who think that they have no future, nothing to lose anymore. But inside the MUD there are people that have something to lose, little perhaps, but something nevertheless. As such, people like Ramos Allup, leader of the fading AD old party, are ready to do anything to lower social tensions. Not because it is good to lower social tensions, something we can almost all of of us agree on, but because social tensions are bad for him since he will never lead the outcome.
Thus for example these people claim that they need to lead a "dialogue", unfortunately for them, one that is missing key elements such as the people that actually expose their lives in protests, a dialogue that is going nowhere fast, where the only valid strategy, at least acknowledged by Aveledo this weekend, is to make the government stand up and leave once and for all. Thus we have irenic speeches where we are told, for example, that establishing a new truth commission brings us close to peace. That the regime bombs on day one such a commission by naming creeps like Amoroso or crazies like Serra should bring some sense to these heads but does not. Ramos Allup goes on saying that street protests brought nothing and thus we are forced into dialogue, when dialogue, for whatever it is worth, was only made possible by forcing the regime into it, albeit as the fake they are.
I have no present to give Leopoldo Lopez in jail except a few verses in French from Paul Éluard if you forgive me the metaphor associating living in jail with death, a few verses for those who refuse their preordained fate and embrace the consequences.
Un homme est mort qui n’avait pour défense
Que ses bras ouverts à la vie
Un homme est mort qui n’avait d’autre route
Que celle où l’on hait les fusils
Un homme est mort qui continue la lutte
Contre la mort contre l’oubli.
Paul Éluard: au rendez vous allemand