Nieves the Victim

Leopoldo López's prosecutor, Franklin Nieves, wallows in self-pity as he tells the world he participated in a plot to fake the evidence used against Lopez.


Over the weekend, Franklin Nieves, the lead prosecutor in the case against Leopoldo López, released a video from exile in the U.S. that quickly went viral. In it, a bleary eyed, visibly shaken Nieves confesses to being complicit in what amounts to a conspiracy to fabricate evidence against López, currently serving a 14 year sentence in solitary confinement in Ramo Verde Military Prison for what any minimally rational person can discern are trumped-up charges.

Neither Reuters nor the New York Times have been able to independently verify his whereabouts, and it’s not actually clear whether he’s cooperating with U.S. authorities. The story could still turn out to be some elaborate disinformation hoax.

What I can confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt is how much sympathy Nieves’s pathetic statement gets from me.


Because instead of seizing on this opportunity to expose just how nefarious this government is, to reflect upon the harm he’s done to our institutions and moral fabric, or, maybe even to apologize to the Lopez’s family for having taken years away from their lives, Nieves uses his 15 minutes to bitch that he can’t get a good night’s sleep.

Yes, Nieves, this is all about you and your disrupted biorhythms.

“Those who know me,” he laments, “know the anguish that I went through, how I couldn’t sleep because of the pain and the pressure that I felt continuing with the farce, continuing this case that unjustly violated the rights of this person.”

So let me get this straight, Nieves. You openly admit to violating human rights, forsaking your legal profession and landing an innocent man in jail for a decade and a half, and this makes YOU the victim? Not only that, but then you warn about being the subject of a possible smear campaign? Is the poow wittle pwosecutor sad he had to fwee the countrwy and now the bad people are angwy? Are you kidding me?

That Leopoldo’s trial was a ludicrous sham is not, of course, news. I did, however, wonder whether the people involved in perpetrating it were actually aware of how much of a sham it was, or whether they were sufficiently self-deluded to buy their own propaganda line. I have my answer now. This guy is a piece of shit.

And it’s not like this is the first time Venezuelans are treated to explosive first-hand disclosures of corruption and fraud within the Justice System that would warrant impeachment in any nation worth its separation of powers.

Remember Carlos Kauffman singing like a canary to U.S. authorities over the suitcase full of PDVSA petrodollars that Chávez sent over to Cristina Kirchner’s Presidential campaign? Or the extensive briefing that former Supreme Tribunal of Justice magistrate Eladio Aponte Aponte gave to the DEA, detailing how he was paid to dismiss uncooperative judges and arrange for favorable sentences in drug-related cases where the government was involved? How about the story of Luis Velasquez Alvaray and the Seven Dwarfs?

In Venezuela these stories amount to little more than a single news cycle’s worth of water-cooler indignation. 

Here’s hoping that Nieves’s mea-culpa-less mea-culpa actually amounts to something more than a whiny rant.

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  1. Emiliana, kudos to you. I so much wish there were an oppo politician who, even dressed up as a teen ager with baseball cap and yogging suit, would come forward and explain how unethical Nieves was, how he, like Aponte, are a shame and that they should simply go all the way and admit they acted like criminals and they asked for forgiveness.

    I wonder if this Nieves character, like Aponte Aponte, will come back to occupy a position in the judiciary system after the regime falls (and it will fall). I hope not.

  2. Good post Emi, agree 100%

    Has there been any govt reactions to this? I saw Nicmer Evans retweet the news which was surprising given that he seemed to have supported the sentence against LL, but not much else.

    • No telling what they actually come up with but my top two candidates are:

      1. He is committing high treason by lying and, therefore, we are legally demanding his extradition from the U.S.

      2. He was kidnapped by “los ultra-derechos”, taken to the U.S. and forced to make his confessions by the CIA.

  3. Hi Emi. You may be indignant and all that. I get it. So am I. But I am actually happy this guy found a little bit of his conscience somewhere in his soul. I say, better late than never.

  4. 100% in agreement. The worse part is that people look at me with bewilderment when I express disgust at Nieves. Some people outside of Venezuela seem to think this scandal could somehow bring down Maduro…!

  5. Mr. Nieves is a steaming turd.

    So now he feels bad for being a criminal. Of course the sorrow is expressed in the safety of exile, probably in ‘el paraiso terrenal chavista de Miami’.

    I will eat all these words if he presents incriminating evidence of his superiors and goes back to Venezuela to face Chavismo’s wrath, that would be a way of showing real atonement. Heck it’s the fashionable thing to do, isn’t it Mr. Rosales?

  6. I think I hear car alarms sounding while he speaks. We don’t have car alarms anymore in Miami. Do they have car alarms in other parts of the US? Do they still use them in Caracas? Just curious. I personally hate the fact that these guys get to escape and just carry on.

    • I was thinking the same thing which led me to think, shouldn’t Mr. Nieves think the same thing?

      So in my mind Mr. Nieves is ignorant of what history has to say about criminal cooperation or he is just plain dim.

      This in turn is more evidence of the mediocrity of Chavismo bureaucracy.

  7. I guess it is true that the rat jumped ship. As to where..nobody knows.

    “Asimismo, la Fiscal aseguró que no hará falta analizar el video porque a su juicio es evidente que “él se dejó presionar y cedió a las presiones que le hicieron factores políticos extranjeros y venezolanos también. Indudablemente él cedió a las presiones de otro lado, en el Ministerio Publico no presionamos a nadie”.

  8. What about the others he falsely prosecuted in the past? Or you are going to tell me a case of this magnitude was assigned to a guy that it is not 100% with the revolution and with enough experience doing the same shit? This is not the first time he has done this, why is he now having trouble to sleep?

  9. I confess that my very first reaction was, “Good! One more nail in the coffin!” But, following that I was deeply troubled that this POS waited all the way till he had a conviction on LL before fleeing the country and issuing a “video” from somewhere in hiding. I get the pressures these guys are put under. But, that just tells me that the whole system and everyone in it has lost their moral compass. I did not see anything in that video that indicates contrition, taking personal responsibility for his actions, or any effort to make amends for his moral and professional failings. In my book, he is still a POS.

  10. I think it would be a mistake for people to think this guy had any input on the outcome, and a mistake to discourage people who are in positions such as his from coming forward (or stopping what they are doing, which is the same thing). He looks to me like a lot of people who have out of fear, self interest, self delusion, or simply their families, serve the regime. That’s a lot of people. This guy is never going to practice his profession again, he’s going to be hated by everyone in Venezuela (chavista and non chavista) and he probably won’t see his home again. Guilty as charged, but undeserving of any mercy? I would like to hear what Leopoldo Lopez thinks of this guy.

  11. He may not be able to make use of the Refugee Convention to remain wherever he is, as others can:

    “F. The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:
    (a) hehascommittedacrimeagainstpeace,awarcrime,oracrimeagainst humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;
    (b) he has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;
    (c) he has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

  12. Totally agree with this post. This despicable dirtbag was the Persecutor against Leopoldo’s entire family and friends, against what’s good in Venezuela, really, for 1 entire year. And he probably got paid, at least a million in Spain as some say. One year, plus who know what else he’s done in his illustrious scumbag career to other families?!

    “He has apologized to Leopoldo and his family. That’s good enough for me.”

    Good enough for Leo’s family, wife, parents, his kids?!! What about good old Justice, accountability, setting precedents before public opinion and before the Law to help avoid future horrific legal transgressions?

    This dude should roast in hell, slowly, for decades, if only such a distant cozy place really existed.

  13. For Venezuela, reconciling all of the injustices and finding appropriate punishments for those responsible is going to be a legal and moral nightmare.

    • I propose that the punishment for all those responsible should be to strip them of all their ill-begotten wealth and assign them to live in neighborhoods like, Vista al Sol, Toro Muerto, Los Alacranes, etc. By the way, all those neighborhoods are located in San Felix, Bolivar State. They will really get a true taste of “ahora tenemos Patria.”

  14. My initial reaction to this news was dry cynicism and some cursing of Nieves’ name for good measure, and since so many people seemed surprised at my indignation I wondered whether I was being too hard on the guy. But no, Emiliana and this comment thread have said it all.
    The US should really send out a memo asking future Venezuelan defectors to bring actual evidence of our State’s wrongdoings with them, because these amateur-hour sob stories and personal experiences have gotten real old real fast.


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