It is common knowledge in Venezuela AND now overseas that the judicial system of Venezuela is a farce, a mere tool of the executive to get away with whatever it needs to get done. In Venezuela all political cases and all cases against the state are decided at the convenience of the executive branch which will allow only an extremely rare "victory" of third parties when that one may serve a given side within the regime apparatus against other factions.
In short, when you fall into the hands of the regime judicial machinery you know that the final verdict, if it ever comes, will be a political decision. We are ALL potential political prisoners to be disposed of at will. This is the most powerful tool chavismo has to try to control opposition: those who do not have the nerve flee the country; those who dare to resist end up like Judge Afiuni or Leopoldo Lopez, poster victims to scare away potential protesters.
And yet, in spite of the gloomy assessment written above, the Lopez "show trial" is reaching new and unnecessary levels. Why?
I will pass on the piped up reasons to arrest Lopez: on the show that that arrest was with Diosdado Cabello accompanying Lopez to court; on the multiple and constant vexations that Lopez has suffered in jail; on him even being roughed up in his cell by masked goons. No, let's look at today's court ruling to make my point.
Today was one of the infrequent sessions of Lopez trial. The regime is doing its utmost to delay and delay that trial. Today the only matter at hand was to hear the decision of whether judge Susana Barreiros would allow the defense to present its evidence. That is right, in a previous session that judge, whose name will join the extended infamy list of those who will go to trial when the regime leaves, had decided that the defense had no valid evidence to present. The defense of course appealed and today the judge ratified her previous decision.
Let me make that clear for the reader: the defense will not be allowed to present its evidence nor its witnesses. The only evidence and witnesses that will be allowed in court are the ones from the prosecution. The defense, we hope, will be only able to cross examine that evidence. Since we know that Venezuelan judges under chavismo can silence cross examination as they want, there you have it. Of course, I am sure that as the trial moves on the judge may allow the defense an item here, an item there, just to pretend that a trial did take place, but it is not going to fool anyone. It is also true that in any serious trial the judges can dismiss useless evidence such as the nephew of the accused selling boy scout cookies as a character reference, but this is not the case here. What is going on here is outright denial of justice, it is a show trial, a kangaroo court, a pre-ordained execution.
Why is the regime taking such an international risk with a figure that has already won in international courts sentences establishing that the regime was unfair towards him?
There are several possible explanations.
The first one, that I wrote on June 11 "I propose that Lopez is Diosdado Cabello prisoner, one of his trump cards to use against the regime as well as against the opposition. " is still valid and explains at least the delays and the judicial travesty: Cabello needs to play the Lopez card when the timing is good for him. A mickey mouse trial is even good, in a perverse way, as it may speed up a Lopez release by denouncing judicial prevarication!
But that does not explain the abuse going to to the point of denying even minimal defense evidence! Thus my second reason is that Lopez is "also" a hostage of the harsh left that truly wants him condemned at all costs. They want that because they want Cabello deprived of a trump card. They want that because they need to prove that this is a real revolution.
And yet the meanness of it all cannot quite be explained by these two reasons. After all, let's not forget the harsh treatment of Lopez, who is often denied visit from his children, who has been beaten up. There is a third reason: Chavismo truly hates Lopez. Why such hate? Because Lopez is all what they are not, cannot be, cannot even have their children be. Leopoldo Lopez is educated, civilized, able, successful on his own, and a relative of Bolivar to boot, but not of the Bolivar invented by Chavez, the real Bolivar, the one from the history books that may be burned in Venezuela but that will remain in existence elsewhere to come back to Venezuela when the time is right to expose the Chavez fraud.
In short chavismo cannot forget and less forgive Lopez to have beaten chavismo at its own game, to have won overseas against the regime, to have created the best organized political party in Venezuela, without the resources from the state that are abundant to the PSUV but apparently never enough to ensure some coherence and even less loyalty. Lopez is a constant mirror where chavismo sees its own miserable nature. And thus I am starting to fear for Lopez life. This could simply get out of hand, even for Cabello.