Leopoldo Lopez (R) is arrested on February 2014 during street protests in Caracas, Venezuela. (Getty Images)
Leopoldo Lopez (R) is arrested on February 2014 during street protests in Caracas, Venezuela. (Getty Images)

By Carlos A. Quiroga

Condemnation of the Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was predictable, as well as the wave of reprobation that came from many parts of the world and the hard pro-government speeches trying to justify the measure.

Rightist Lopez was sentenced Thursday to nearly 14 years in prison for allegedly encouraging violent street protests of early 2014, which left dozens dead and have highlighted discontent over food shortages, insecurity, political constraints and other everyday problems of the Venezuelan population.

Defeated in the traditional political strife, unable to articulate a unified opposition bloc, Lopez chose in 2014 the path of street quasi subversion to face Nicolas Maduro’s government and all his “Bolivarian” structure.

Maduro, with all the inherited power of Hugo Chavez, had him imprisoned and condemned. Quite simply, like any dictatorship.

The oil-rich country is now more polarized than ever between what represents the ruler who does not tolerate dissent and opposition leader who does not respect all the rules.

In a democracy, one would expect that the political conflict will be resolved in the parliamentary elections in December, but the hatred and political passion, compounded by rampant economic crisis, makes Venezuela’s future unpredictable.

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