López Prosecutor Apologizes (but is still a POS).

WSJ interview gives more details about Franklin Nieves's defection from violating human rights.


Franklin Nieves, the prosecutor-on-the-run who admits to wrongfully convicting Leopoldo López, has been making the rounds with US media, and gave a teary interview to the Wall Street Journal. It’s nice to finally see Nieves display some actual contrition, after his first public statement amounted to a self-serving, victimizing rant.

“Leopoldo López is innocent. […] From my heart, I want to ask for forgiveness from Venezuela, Leopoldo López’s, López’s wife, the López family, and especially from their children.”

(In an ironic, hollywood-worthy twist, it turns out that Mr. Nieves’s daughter goes to the same school as Leopoldo’s.)

This interview is also the first time Nieves explicitly discusses how the trial was politically motivated, and how judicial personnel were intimidated into carrying out orders from the Executive.

“Mr. Nieves said judges and prosecutors were pressured to convict political opponents of the regime by their superiors, who would give them their orders verbally in frequent meetings.”

The WSJ piece also quotes the Venezuelan Attorney General’s statements on the matter, who, not surprisingly, was quick to deny Nieves’s “antinational” allegations.

“He ceded to the pressures of foreign factors and sectors of the country, not the Attorney General’s Office. The prosecutor’s office doesn’t pressure anyone.”

The WSJ piece goes on to predict that this latest whistleblowing scandal will likely “deepen the country’s political crisis,” and have an effect on December’s parliamentary election results. Initially, I would tend to disagree.

Similarly explosive scandals of the past have been ineffective in swinging the electorate, since issues like judicial autonomy tend to take a backseat to more immediate voter concerns. Nevertheless, how Nieves-gate resonates with disgruntled chavistas in the polls will ultimately depend on Leopoldo’s communications team, which, in the past, has proven to be quite competent given its lack of access to mass media.

I’m definitely not holding my breath for Leopoldo’s release.

My money is more on the long-term political effects of this smoking gun, and how it will affect international relations with the Venezuelan government in the context of its crumbling popularity, international isolation and a collapsed economy. Nieves’s increasingly detailed statements round out the Human Rights chapter in an increasingly comprehensive case against the government. Put these things together, and you have all the ingredients for a big time governance crisis.


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  1. Luisa Ortega’s statements are the moral equivalent of the common criminal, who when questioned by the police, goes quickly from “I wasn’t there.”, to “I didn’t do it.”, to “You can’t prove it.”

    • I quite agree. But the real POS’s here are the politicians. Where is Rousseff? Bachelet? Cristina? Morales? and on and on. Have they lost their voices? Do they not see the hypocrisy here?

      • Where is Rousseff? Bachelet? Cristina? Morales? and on and on. Do they not see the hypocrisy here?

        Not at all. Recall the old saying, “There are no enemies on the left.” V.S. Naipaul made note of the left’s plastic attitude towards torture in a 1972 article on Argentina,The Corpse at the Iron Gate, some 4 years before the Dirty War was in full swing. Following are Naipaul’s conversations with some leftists.
        These lawyers had been represented to me as a group working for “civil rights.” They were young, stylishly dressed, and they were meeting that morning to draft a petition against torture. The top-floor flat was scruffy and bare; visitors were scrutinized through the peep-hole; everybody whispered; and there was a lot of cigarette smoke. Intrigue, danger. But one of the lawyers was diverted by my invitation to lunch, and at lunch—he was a hearty and expensive eater—he made it clear that the torture they were protesting against wasn’t to be confused with the torture in Perón’s time.

        He said: “When justice is the justice of the people men sometimes commit excesses. But in the final analysis the important thing is that justice should be done in the name of the people.” Who were the enemies of the people? His response was tabulated and swift. “American imperialism. And its native allies. The oligarchy, the dependent bourgeoisie, Zionism, and the ‘sepoy’ left. By sepoys we mean the Communist Party and socialism in general.” It seemed a comprehensive list. Who were the Peronists? “Peronism is a revolutionary national movement. There is a great difference between a movement and a party. We are not Stalinists, and a Peronist is anyone who calls himself a Peronist and acts like a Peronist.” …..

        “There are no internal enemies,” the trade union leader said, with a smile. But at the same time he thought that torture would continue in Argentina. “A world without torture is an ideal world.” And there was torture and torture. “Depende de quién sea torturado. It depends on who is tortured. An evildoer, that’s all right. But a man who’s trying to save the country—that’s something else. Torture isn’t only the electric prod, you know. Poverty is torture, frustration is torture.” He was urbane; I had been told he was the most intellectual of the Peronist trade union leaders. He had been punctual; his office was uncluttered and neat; on his desk, below glass, there was a large photograph of the young Perón.

        There is the attitude of much of the left: “Depende de quién sea torturado. It depends on who is tortured. As it is not someone on the left being jailed or tortured, they see no need to protest. Maduro may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard, say the Cono Sur capos- many of whom were either guerrillas or guerrilla supporters in the 1970s. Former Uruguayan President Pepe Mujica was a blooming Maoist. You would have thought that Pepe, given his being tortured while in prison, would have had something to say about Venezuelan treatment of political prisoners. Not a tweet from Pepe: no enemies on the left, doncha’ know?

          • When you cut and pasted the quote, the formatting was retained. Good quote though… It demonstrates just how smug and hypocritical the extreme leftists are.

          • Roy, the capital letters in the quote were not there in either the article I copied and pasted, nor at the website where I previewed it. CC software somehow converted the quote into capital letters and gigantic font.

      • Dr., Rousseff is sidelined and Lula is calling the shots. Why would those two come to LLs defense? Why would Cristina? You know she’s out. Morales? He’s a buddy focusing on his next presidential term and coca-cocaine supply chain logistics. Bachelet is a leftist leader who has always stayed quiet. Tell us something new Doctor.

  2. This guy does not strike me as the type who would volunteer to prosecute Leopoldo Lopez. He wasn’t, I don’t imagine, on his way up the food chain when they gave him this file.

    • Mr Bocaranda has some updates that soften my position. It seems that Mr. Nieves did take incriminatory documents:

      En la Fiscalía 41 abrieron la caja fuerte contentiva de documentos, juicios, pruebas y otros elementos confidenciales y se dieron cuenta que faltaban -entre otros- los expedientes originales del accionar contra López y notas a mano con órdenes. Una fuente me confesó que más del 80% de la documentación de respaldo había desaparecido.

      Nieves sacó a su familia luego que las autoridades de dos agencias federales le dieran el visto bueno a los documentos que les había hecho llegar de diversos expedientes que pasaron por sus manos, las instrucciones y directrices para enjuiciar a Leopoldo López y otros dirigentes, estudiantes y políticos venezolanos.

      So he joins Leamsy et al as rojo-rojitos squealers, but I am yet to see the impending body blow to chavismo I dream about.

      So from steaming turd I now upgrade him to a snake, don’t cozy up to it and keep it in its terrarium.

  3. This ruthless mercenary, obviously a decent actor too as all prosecutors must be, asking for “forgiveness now, a youtube movie star, instant celebrity.. It’s beyond revolting. It’s ruining a perfect morning with freshly brewed Sumatra coffee beans and another amazing October sunrise. After 1 year and 8 months attacking Leo and Lilian his innocent family, plus almost 100 other political prisoners, and the millions of people they represent. And this abominable rodent is somewhere in Miami or Washington, comfortably preparing his first block-buster Amazon book deal?

    Cry me a freaking river, spineless HDP. I have more empathy for a sleazy drug dealer who accidentally shoots someone in their youths.. Heck, even El Chapo deserves better than this piece of crap.

    And no, of course this international media incident will not have that many repercussions in Chabestoide land. Thugs like this Franklin poisonous viper are a dime a dozen in the PSUV ranks, the more devious and corrupt the faster they thrive. The 6 Million Maduristas and over 10 Million Chavistas “indecisos” or ” independientes” are ignorant enough or corruptible enough that a fake promise, a threat, a bogus job even a couple free chickens or pampers before elections matter more than Leopoldo’s entire family and the future of their country.

  4. Here’s what I’d ask Nieves:
    How much did you make on the payroll, and as a bonus, from the moment you were first given the Leopoldo López file (with instructions)?
    What other (political) prisoner files were you responsible for, during that time frame?
    How long have you been a prosecutor in the chavista mold? For surely, instructions on how to sway cases is not a recent development tied to Maduro. After all, we’ve already been treated to the revelations of Aponte Aponte ….

  5. “Similarly explosive scandals of the past have been ineffective in swinging the electorate, since issues like judicial autonomy tend to take a backseat to more immediate voter concerns.”

    Sadly, the majority of electorate in Venezuela doesn’t want to understand how important is to have a judicial system that actually works.

  6. It would be fun to read an article weighing Lopez’ eventual electability. Will his ordeal win him points with a post-unification Venezuela?

  7. “It would be fun to read an article weighing Lopez’ eventual electability. Will his ordeal win him points with a post-unification Venezuela?”

    And if the results are positive, I hope Maduro and company reads it. It will cause them massive coronary attacks.


  8. It’s working!..

    The Maduro’s boys will bury this as quick as possible..out of sight, out of mind. The opposition shall gear up and get the people on the street as soon as possible before the momentum fades away.

    A good demonstration will continue to drive the issue internationally and keep the pressure on the government, not only on the LP case but the reticence of international observers, the illegal political prosecution and the not so veiled menace of “winning by all means”.

  9. Given the hatchet job that Foreign Policy magazine/website did on LL last month, I wonder if there will be any article forthcoming which points out LL’s prosecutor admitted that the charges were trumped-up. I will not be holding my breath to find out.


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