Big news in Venezuela last night, as Leopoldo López —the nation’s most popular political leader and highest-profile political prisoner— is shifted from jail into house arrest: a major concession from a regime that had spent untold resources demonizing this.

There are, of course, a million interpretations out there, and it’s far from clear what exactly it means.

But reading between the lines, and one early conclusion seems certain: former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s fingerprints are all over this.

First, there’s the fact that every single major media outlet in Spain seemed to have the middle-of-the-night story before anyone in Venezuela did. Then there’s this communiqué from former Venezuelan Foreign Minister and crazy lady Delcy Rodríguez:

Reading between the lines —or, really, in the lines— the message here is clear. Rodríguez Zapatero, who had recently been threatening to pull out of the mediation role altogether, is back. He brokered this, and he didn’t broker this for no reason.

What might come next? We’re in the realm of absolute speculation here, but let’s speculate away. I think the outlines of a deal are there to see if you care to look.

The opposition needs to get the government to call off the Constituent Assembly, which represents an existential threat not just to MUD, but to the Venezuelan republic.

The government needs a let-up in protests, which are pushing the security forces and the state as a whole to a series of stress points where major violence, a coup, or some other violent denouement gradually shifts from imaginable to possible to probable to likely.

And Zapatero…well, Zapatero seems to need that Nobel Peace Prize.

Zapatero needed a high-value token to try to jump-start a negotiation —not a “dialogue”, a negotiation.

The government likely understands that doubling down on the Constituyente is a high risk gamble, given the untenable pressures between chavismo and madurismo the proposal is generating: it’ll be glad to find a face-saving way out. The opposition likely understands that it can’t sustain street protests indefinitely in the face of growing violence and repression: it, too, will be glad to find a face-saving way out. For both sides, the risks of doubling down on confrontation are substantial.

The outlines of a deal are visible, if you care to look.

Zapatero needed a high-value token to try to jump-start a negotiation —not a “dialogue”, a negotiation. And now he has that token. Zapatero’s back, bitches, like it or not.

And if this whole line of thinking is close to making your head explode, if it looks obvious to you that it will cause major stresses inside the opposition, if it feels like it has the potential to re-open the old moderates vs. salidistas splits of 2014…well, let me assure you: from the government’s point of view, that is very much the point.

87 COMMENTS

  1. “if it feels¥ like it has the potential to re-open the old moderates vs. salidistas splits of 2014…well, let me assure you: from the government’s point of view, that is very much the point.”

    I was waiting for la trampa, and here we go. Got to get to the bottom of this CCS Chronicles crew.

  2. The “deal” you are talking about is a return to the status quo. The regime stays in power and continues violating the constitution to stay in power. How could that ever be acceptable to anyone in the Opposition, moderate or not?

    • De acuerdo 100%. NO DEAL!!! Adelante VZ- you have them by the short hairs right now- there is no turning back here!!!!

  3. The Maduristas have given so much to push the ANC through. if/when it eventually doesn’t go through, it will be because they have been ousted, not because of anything else.

    The political cost of backing down is too high at this point. Either the Venezuela government is ousted this month or Venezuela will be a full on Cuban-style government.

    The government’s intention might have been to calm the protests down, but if anything, people will be more invigorated and protests will escalate in size.

    Lopez out gives VP control of the MUD to counter Allup/Borges.

    This is all pure speculation of course, but I believe this is a play by a faction of the government that will/is back firing back time. Unless a faction of the government wanted exactly that. Who knows these days.

  4. That might be the government’s goal, but I don’t see the oppo falling for it. We’re all salidistas now.

    Still, if it comes to negotiations, I say give us back the AN’s powers and let us have a proper TSJ.

  5. My bet is that there is no deal.

    This is a pirouette by the government to distract the international attention from the attack on the AN and to represent to the masses that there is a dialogue in going on. Simply Maduro is running out of options.

    Zapatero might have suggested it and is claiming credit for it. But MUD will not step back because it would be political suicide. Freddy Guevara’s press conference and Leopoldo’s appearance proves that to me.
    I don’t think the government will either.

    This is a sign of weakness for Maduro and a win for Venezuela.

    I believed what Freddy said, they took Leopoldo by force and took him to his home. Now, after3+ years in jail that is a win for him, he is with his family, and a win for MUD because Leopoldo is close by. And just with showing up on his roof Leopoldo will rally the masses.

  6. My bet is that there is no deal.
    This is a pirouette by the government to distract the international attention from the attack on the AN and to represent to the masses that there is a dialogue going on. Simply Maduro is running out of options.
    Zapatero might have suggested it and is claiming credit for it. But MUD will not step back because it would be political suicide. Freddy Guevara’s press conference and Leopoldo’s appearance proves that to me.
    I don’t think the government will either.
    This is a sign of weakness for Maduro and a win for Venezuela.
    I believed what Freddy said, they took Leopoldo by force and took him to his home. Now, after3+ years in jail that is a win for him, he is with his family, and a win for MUD because Leopoldo is close by. And just with showing up on his roof Leopoldo will rally the masses.

    • I completely agree with you analysis, Juan.

      Leopoldo did not negotiate, it was a move to appease the international community after the shellacking they took this week after the attack on the national assembly.

      The Gorilato always ‘retrocede pa’lante’, which makes this step extraordinary and sure sign of weakness. More importantly, this will be a big moral booster for the opposition.

      Now that Leopoldo is the face of the insurrection, one has to pray that some crazed idiot DOESN’T try to take his life, I sense incredible danger for him.

    • The best part:

      “Aprovechamos para invitar a todos mañana domingo 9 a la concentración masiva en la Av. Francisco de Miranda en la ciudad de Caracas, así como en las capitales de estados de todo el país, por los 100 días de lucha y resistencia del Bravo pueblo venezolano.”

  7. My feeling is that this is either a unilateral attempt to placate the MUD and dial down the protests, or Leopoldo is gravely ill, and Maduro doesn’t want to risk having him die in custody.

    If Zapatero thinks a return to the status quo is all he needs to accomplish, he’s in for surprise.

    • Leopoldo is not sick. I think that is BS. In El Nacional ( and i am in a hurry now and cant pull up article) they interviewed a relative. I also seen a youtube video asking LL aunt and she said he has no medical condition.

      I think the Maduristas are shitting thier pants now and need to release the pressure valve…or like Juan said, this is a way to divert attention of that flop at the AN.

      Got to keep full pressure on that debacle at the AN and make sure cabeza de mango et al do not get away with this.

  8. If indeed this recent action is to continue out manoeuvring MUD, adding confusion to the present situation, I have no doubt his spectrum of supporters will indeed be equally confused. I believe this to be a moment of Government weakness and as such all forms of his military support will, at the very least, be sensing a hint of vulnerability.

    • Hi Rob, if you are in Venezuela, and you are monitoring all of your groups on whatsapp, you will see that most everybody is calling bullshit.

      They know the Chavistas are shitting themselves. Now is the time to sink the dagger into their big red hearts that say “Hecho en Socialismo”.

  9. Strongly disagree with Francisco and agree with Juan. The opposition must and will continue the street protests. There was no deal. Even if there was an attempt at such a deal, the MUD is not solely in charge. The student movement and the protests in the West would continue even without them.

    • Totally agree. Francisco is too comeflor to see more clearly. Notice that diosdado wasnt either in the AN take by el salami nor the july 5th parade. The schism is obvious, and not to take advantage of that is naive to the point of being criminal.

  10. My phone won’t play the Guevara clip. What did he say exactly about “taking LL by force”? I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around that one.

  11. Leopoldo Lopez is a criminal and releasing him is not a victory for the rule of law, but Trump is attempting to crush Venezuela, just as Nixon did Allende when they said they will “make the economy scream”. History repeats itself. This is why it’s vital to get rid of Trump in 2020 and replace him with a real progressive alternative like Sanders or Ellison.

      • Hey JudiLynn, it is not Chomsky, but we dont have to hear a bunch of intellectual masturbation first to know the truth.

        Please try to explain to us this video from La Patilla:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA7Np3AGWCA

        “Ofrecieron el Clap a cambio de votos para el Constituyente..!Y les bajo el cero!”

        Judilynn if you ever had to live in Venezuela, dealing with all the vainas chimbas and bullshit we go through day in and day out, you would know how good it feels to chant those words.

        Y va a caer!! Y va a caer!! este gobierno va a caer!!

      • JudiLynn,

        Morals/ethics are a beautiful thing. So is literacy.

        I’ve read recent articles from Punch and Democratic Underground. No one. Absolutely no one is buying the nonsense you’ve posted. Uniformly (that means everyone) all former admirers are appalled by the plight of Venezuelans and reject Chavismo.

        You know, that infant mortality and starvation stuff.

    • JudiLynn of Lunatic (Democratic) Underground fame! We’re so blessed. Hey loon, how about you live here a few years before preaching to us about how great things are in The People’s Socialist Republic of Venezuela?

      • hahaaha I used to drink the red koolaid when I was in grad school…Then I lived in Venezuela for more than 10 years.

        Leftist who defend this robolution are no different than the fools who defended Stalin way back when.

        Most people on this blog are ex pats living in Venezuela and Venezuelans (in Venezuela or abroad) who want to get the word out in English.

        It is like a cat playing with a mouse with Leftist apologists who dare come here.

    • Wow! A true socialist leftie this one. She didn’t just drink the Koolaid, she drowned in it. They are becoming an endangered species. Do you think we will have to set aside a reserve for them? Maybe we could clear out a small island somewhere and let them try to build their socialism without outside interference or the necessity of imposing it by force on people who don’t want what they are selling.

    • Judy Lynn,
      I don’t know what part of your comment is more absurd. Trump did not create the mess that Venezuela has become.
      Mismanagement, including zero knowledge of how markets work, corruption beyond comprehension that has resulted in the theft of hundreds of billions of Dollars being stolen from the Venezuelan people, disregard for the rule of law and the denial of constitutional democracy (remember the recall referendum?) and violently suppressing the elected representation of the people (declaring the NA illegitimate) are all components that have brought Venezuela to where it is today.
      It is laughable that Chomsky claims that dependence on oil and the inability of Chavez and now Maduro to diversify the economy are at the root of today’s humanitarian crisis.
      Chavez destroyed the diversified economy that Venezuela once had.
      I have a lifetime of government service in my resume. The US government has never conspired to “crush” Venezuela. Being critical of an oppressive regime that is repeating the same failed policies that tend to end in massive human suffering is not an attempt to crush a country.
      Noam Chomsky may be held in high esteem by the Liberal elite that are pervasive in US colleges. He is detached from reality. And believe me Reality always bats last.
      The revolutions always begin to end the oppression of the people. They seem to always mutate into oppression of the people to protect the (corrupt leaders) revolution.
      There are many facts regarding solutions to human suffering and bettering conditions for people throughout the world. You should learn the historical success of Capitalist democracies compared to totalitarian regimes.
      The US has promoted democracy, capitalism and free trade since the end of World War 2. The result has been the amount of countries that are now democracies increasing from less than 20 to over 100.
      Living conditions, simple access to potable water, incomes,life expectancy, or an other metric you want to use have improved under capitalist / democratic systems.
      Broadening your sources beyond someone that masturbates to Mao’s Little Red Book will be a truly eye opening experience for you.

    • Judi, you know what actually happened?

      Maduro just STABBED CHAVISMO ON THE BACK by releasing the “mostro de Ramo Verde”, and pooped all over their made-up “victims of the guarrrrrrrriimmmbazzzzz” that simply groped his ass.

      #MaburroTraidorEntreguistaVaPaJuera

  12. Leopoldo’s struggle is not over, he is still a political prisoner! Yesterday there was a meeting between Putin and Trump and today this? Who else thinks this is too much of a coincidence? Who else thinks negotiations regarding Cuba’s role and future were involved? Nobody takes this PSUV circus seriously abroad.
    Now is not the time to falter and think that we can expect decency from Maduro and his pranes, it is the time to doble our effort to get rid of this disgrace we have as an excuse for a government .
    However, I am betting that before the month’s is over, there will be a change in the status quo. Two possibilities:
    1- An agreement to name a consensus vice – president, elections in December with a new CNE, restoration of the A.N. according to its constitutional role and freedom for political prisoners or
    2- There will be some that will be willing to use force to upset the government’s control and prevent the ANC. Its chances of happening are 0.
    I understand these are bold statements but then again , these are perilous times for Venezuela

  13. Frankly JudiLynn, you don’t know what you are talking about. But , if by “Venezuela” you mean Maduro, his crooks and other roaches from PSUV, then , by all means crush away. International pressure will not topple the dictatorship, we will, because it is our country and we demand a safe, prosperous and free Venezuela.
    PS: Sorry to animal lovers, I did not meant to belittle roaches in any way

  14. No deal of old status quo with Lopez free and no Constituent Assembly. But how about a Presidential Recall Referendum guaranteed by the OAS? If Zapatero delete version that, I’ll nominate him for the Nobel Prize myself.

    • Talking about Zapatero, this is also an intent by Maduro to bring him back as a negotiator and bait the international community into supporting Zapatero’s role while they install the Constituyente.

      But I bet the MUD will not fall for it.

  15. “El presidente Nicolás Maduro afirmó este sábado que el dirigente opositor Leopoldo López se encuentra condenado por decisión de la fiscal general, Luisa Ortega Díaz.”

    There is another angle. Maduro wants to leave la Fiscal without support.

    “Asimismo, pidió que López emita mensaje de rectificación y paz, “el país quiere paz (…) mientras tanto estamos aquí, en un momento constituyente”.

    This will never happen. This confirms that there is no deal.

  16. Too little too late, there’s too much at stake to go back to 2014. It might seem like a well thought distraction, but the MUD must prevail the streets until the Constituyente is off, and general elections are guaranteed.

  17. The rumor mills persist in reporting ongoing negotiations. I still find it hard to believe. What is there to negotiate? Other than some sort of safe passage to leave with their lives.

  18. Lets say for a moment that this is something that the goverment expects the MUD to pay for. By calling down on protest.

    … what are the chances that we get, instead of the feeling of widespread apathy after the stupid “dialogo” of last year, a feeling that the MUD can fuck off and the people will keep in revolt, probably going even further?

    I hope the MUD is not that stupid as to bite. The only negotiation possible is about the details for Maduro and company to get out. Anything else is just accepting the dictatorship. Even just accepting no ANC but Maduro to end up his term in office is accepting the dictatorship. At this point, they have lost any legitimacy to be in power, and should consider not having to pay for their crimes as a great boon.

    And I know all that seems to suggest a position of strenght that the opposition doesnt have. But sometimes, you have to keep acting like you have it, or lose it all when people see you accepting your weakness again.

  19. Rafael Poleo has a slightly different theory.

    https://twitter.com/PoleoRafael/status/883782423300976641

    That’s right. The chaverment isn’t exploding, is dissolving. This is an opening of a negotiation, but is not for the 2014 status quo. Is for the chavista apparachicks to find countries willing to save their worthless hides after the end of the chaverment. So far, Spain and Canada seem to be the ones forward on top touristic destinies for the corrupt regime bastards post-Chaverment.

    This coming right after the Trump/Putin meeting at the G20 is not a coincidence, that much is obvious.

  20. The salidista crowd was getting on my nerves already.

    Still, the real thing to negotiate here is the economy and little room for concessions to loony communism. That’s gonna be the real struggle.

    If only the mood saw this having learned that they could use protests as pressure in such negociations.

  21. These guys are finished. Maduro is now calling for dialogue with “all sides”, including the military, signing a verifiable agreement for peace.

    Now is the time for the opposition to take to the streets like never before and drive a stake through this vampire’s heart.

    • If constituyente si va: then the symbol for Cubazuela will be the hammer and sickle. Tumblamos esa mierda and then the symbol will be a hammer and wooden stake, right through heart of Mario Silva’s proverbial Los Vampiros.

      Delcy on La Hojilla now.

  22. Was watching VTV Zurda Konducta the other day. Cabeza e’Mango and that other douche were trying to organize another planton on every Wednesday or some bullshit like that (could easily find the vid). They were proposing to do “a sancocho right in front of the AN.” Yes, those two wankers and a bunch colectivos and CLAPpers making a sancocho on burning tires and beating up congressmen and women, journalists, janitors every Wednesday.

    Would love to see opposition/resistance organize a marchita to come to Cabeza e Mango’s sancocho in front of the AN. Marcha: “Pa el sancocho de Cabeza e’Mango”. That would be the Marcha de la Mierda on steroids lol

    And then we could complain to him why we could not make it to his lame ass sancocho (while he is allowed to go into the halls of the AN and terrorize political opponents and innocent bystanders).

    • Mi Guacharaca, a lot of us are native English speakers and readers, and Google isn’t good at Venezuelan slang. What is sancocho?

      CC might want to do a piece about la lengua venezolana for your readers. Might be fun!

        • Sancocho is more than just soup. It is a cultural icon that is more about the process of making the soup than the soup itself. It is made outdoors over a wood fire. This is why the English translation of “soup” doesn’t even begin to describe what the commentator was trying to express.

          With apologies to those who are not familiar with Venezuelan culture, it is simply not possible for those of who are to fully explain and express ourselves without resorting to Venezuelan cultural terminology.

          This blog needs a glossary of terms.

          • Stew with meat and maniok and lots of tasty herbs preferably served in a tapara (ta’paɾa in the language of God or tɑ’pɑɹɑ, as Elisabeth of England would say)

            But itcan also mean confused situation, weird mix and much more

  23. Given that the Chavista method of operation has been no compromises whatsoever, nor any steps backward (ni un paso atrás), LL’s release is surprising. I wonder who first pushed it. I sense some desperation behind his release. There have been unremitting protests for is it now three months? with no indication that anything Chavismo has done has been successful in toning down the protests. Yes, one can see how desperation might have set in.
    I agree that this is not a time to let up the pressure. But I say this from the safety of a foreign land.
    Daniel Duquenal tweet
    Yoani Sánchez‏Verified account @yoanisanchez 12 hours ago

    Curiosa de cómo la prensa oficial #cubana informará la excarcelación de Leopoldo López, después de todos los horrores que ha dicho de él…

    Curious how the official Cuban press will inform readers of the release of Leopoldo López, after all the horrors it has said about him,

    Very interesting turn of events, If LL is very vocal, will he be jailed again? Would the authorities dare?

      • Jim, Yoani Sanchez is a she, and a very brave one at that. Your brother William could have told you that, although he’s working on more pressing matters at the moment (Iran).

      • Indeed, why would the Cubans publish this?
        That’s a good point. My interpretation of her tweet is that the Cuban press hasn’t published anything yet- Note the future tense- informará – will inform. She is wondering how they will spin it.

        The UK news aggregator, NewsNow/SouthAmerica/Venezuela does not at present have anything on Prensa Latina, the Cuban news organ, related to his release, so thus far it appears that the Cubans aren’t reporting anything. Unsurprisingly, Telesur is listed as reporting on his release.

        However, in Google News, we can find a Prensa Latina article on his release in English. Venezuelan Justice Takes Humanitarian Measure in Favor of Opponent.

        Caracas, Jul 8 (Prensa Latina) The Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) granted home arrest to Venezuelan opponent Leopoldo Lopez, who was serving time in a prison in the state of Miranda and was having health problems.

        The humanitarian measure, decreed by TSJ Vice President Maikel Moreno, came into force on Friday night, as there were serious irregularities in the distribution of the file to an Enforcement Court, according to the ruling from the judicial body.

        Lopez, who is the founding national coordinator of Voluntad Popular, is a Venezuelan extreme right-wing politician, former mayor and ex-presidential pre-candidate, who was disqualified for corruption and links with institutions financed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

        In 2002, he headed the opposition march to the Miraflores Palace (the government’s venue) in Caracas that led to the coup d’état and kidnapping of then President Hugo Chávez (1954-2013). In February 2014, he called for civil disobedience and the execution of La Salida plan through ‘guarimbas’ (arbitrary blocking of streets with violent actions), as a result of which 43 people were killed and more than 800 were injured in Venezuela. For that reason, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison in Ramo Verde, state of Miranda.

        Despite his record, the Venezuelan extreme right wing has launched a media campaign to improve Lopez’s image internationally.

        So in English, Prensa Latina is reporting. on his release.

  24. As a probable good bet, Raul should double to 4 Big Macs. The wild card is the Chavista/LOD faction military. If LOD’s head is taken by the TSJ, then the NM faction is in charge, and the ANC goes ahead; if LOD stays, then maybe, a big MAYBE, the ANC might be aborted, because the Military on balance backs her–we will soon see….LL’s casa por carcel was offered him many times via Zapatero, and he had refused; what’s new now?–maybe/likely, because LOD won out; or, maybe, because, after the ANC, LL would become a probable lifer….I doubt VERY seriously if LL’s release had anything to do with Trump/Putin.

    • Freddy Guevara responded to a question after he read the statement just before LL showed on the roof.
      He said that LL had been taken by force from RV to his house.

      His release is a decision of the TSJ and not his. He could not refuse it legally nor could he refuse it by exerting force himself, he was in jail, remember?

      Maduro said today he expected some statement from LL calling for peace.

      If this had been the result of any negotiation they would have obtained the statement Maduro spoke about from LL before releasing him.

      There is no conspiracy here on the part of LL although the government and potentially others might try to make it look so.

      He was offered this before but it was not given to him because he refused to do what they want it.
      Now LT requested “casa por carcel” from the Defensor because that is a normal thing for her to do and to put pressure on them but not in exchange of anything.

      Time will tell!

      • Guess I had a brain fart. I read the post as saying, “we (as in Guevara et al) took him by force from the prison”. That he was taken home against his will certainly makes sense.

  25. Maduro and co. and profoundly, spectacularly broke. They can’t even oft misery bonds and they have a couple billion due in no time. How can political shenanigans – without dough – sustain a country of 20+ million in today’s world? That takes cash and a productive infrastructure. Well the money’s gone for generations and Maduro’s destroyed business and industry, leaving the country in ruins. What on earth has he to negotiate about?

    Maduro said he would never give up power. Who here believes he will negotiate his way out of power? Who believes that unless stopped outright, he will give up some means of staying in power, or giving up total control of the economy, with no transparency? Aside from the threat of force, what leverage does Maduro have? A willingness to share power, to compromise on getting his own way, or the willingness to be told anything by anyone – including La Virgin del Valle herself. Maduro’s an all or nothing kind of guy, too bruto to change.

    So what the hell does Zapatero think he’s going to help negotiate about? Maduro is like a CEO who put a trillion dollar business into dire debt – made the stock worthlss, starved the staff and burnt the building, as his band of pirates scatter with skimmed and burgled loot. Guy in that position has no grounds to even beg for his job. Like I said, other then playing the bully card, he’s got no hand.

    • and the bully card can only be played so far…Tic Toc Tic Toc Tic Toc Tic Toc Tic Toc

      Th bully card laid down on the assault on the AN totally flopped. They cannot control the narrative. They are losing social media. Nobody believes one word of VTV. Really, the people are fed up and dont buy the bullshit anymore.

      I was talking to a taxi driver tonight and said I am going to a place “a un poco mas abajo de esa vaina chavista” (Mission Vivienda) and he laughed about that. We talked and the general consensus is that CLAP just signifies mediocrity. Most anybody who works for a living here has an appreciation for that fact. We have suffered long enough. Now is time for change.

      100 days so far and no end in sight for them because they are being attacked on ALL fronts. I would love to hear their conversations at Vinetur over whiskey this weekend. Must sound like Hitlers bunker in Berlin 1945. I hope some of the Chavistas are like drunk and thinking “F#$k this bullshit!” right now.

  26. La liberacion de Leopoldo Lopez a pocos dias de instaurar la constituyente, le podria quitar impulso al bando de los opositores. No se han liberado los demas presos politicos. Al liberar al politico más representativo, se quita al baluarte de la oposición gran parte de su poder moral contra el REGIMEN. La poblacion debe seguir en la calle hasta liberar a todos los presos. Debe seguir en la calle hasta que se instaure el gobierno de transicion.Se debe evitar la CONSTITUYENTE. Me alegro por cada preso politico que es liberado, ahora falta que LEOPOLDO obtenga TODA SUS LIBERTADES.

  27. The brutal attack on Congress left the regime thickly mired in muck , the international response was loud and highly critical , inner signs of military discontent are beginning to sprout, they had to counter with something which made them look more civilized, specially now that they are approaching the election date for the fake constituyente. So they had the obsequious TSJ apply an ‘humanitarian’ measure to LL’s prison conditions together with a new appeal for ‘dialogue’ , perhaps making Zapatero play some ornamental part in the process to enhance his by now much eroded credibility , thus they wanted to appease the deafening chorus of world opinion and even go as far as ‘show’ the TSJ as independent from the regime (Maduro , Jaua et al loudly proclaimed their willingness to ‘obey’ the TSJ decision, as if it were an independent body) .

    Dont believe there was any real dialogue …….there is nothing the oppo leadership can offer to the regime that doesnt spell instant political suicide so there will be no dialogue or negotiations until conditions are such that the results of any negotiation are enormously favourable to the oppo agenda……

    The game now is probably not driven by the possibility of stopping the constituyente election altogether but in having such small part of the voting population attend its call that its proceedings are seen as blatantly farsical , the call for an oppo plesbicito which might be better attended would help drive the message home.
    …..

  28. What’s the bullshit about some university not supplying the indelible ink for the PSUV constituyente? Fingerprint only according to el gordo. I’m sure the plan is to claim 14 million participated, but is he saying the government is incapble of having the ink on hand via other sources? I guess they are that inept.

  29. Quico, you seem to indicate that with LL under house arrest, swapping ANC for street protests is likely what is being negotiated. I would not put anything past the MUD, but this would be the most stupid move the opposition could make. Releasing LL is a sign of weakness: this is when you go for the kill.

    • Yo le consigo la pistola al HDP de drogadado para que cumpla su promesa de que iba a matarse antes de que a LL le dieran casa por cárcel.

  30. Zapatero is truly biased. In an interview published today, he makes clear that–despite the contrary vote of Bolivians in the 2016 referendum–he considers Evo Morales’ self-perpetuation in power to be “an open debate,” and he is in favor of Morale’ self-perpetuation.

    `- Would it advise a rotation of the power in Bolivia’s case?

    – Well for all those who lose elections. For those who win, as long as they have the support …

    – Sure, respecting the law and the rules of the democratic game

    – Ah good. Here you are with an open debate (the repostulación referendum of 21 of February of 2016). In this I am not objective, because I have much appreciation to President Evo Morales. I have always considered him a very honest person. When I worked with him, when I was President of the Government (2008-20011), Morales only thought about the people, the poorest in Bolivia. The things he raised me and how I could help him for people who had nothing found answer. I have appreciation, respect and great consideration.

    -In Bolivia should there be a change of leadership as happened in Ecuador without leaving aside the political project of the left?

    – It is that every circumstance is every circumstance. All I have said is that I have seen President Morales in top form; I do not know if in playing football he is still in good shape; In 2015 I saw him playing several games, but politically I have seen him in full form and eager. As long as you have that and the people vote for you … well, we respect you.’

    Perhaps 5 or 10 political prisoners in exchange for constitutionalizing price controls?

    http://www.la-razon.com/suplementos/animal_politico/desafio-Latinoamerica-defender-valores-democracia_0_2739926043.html

  31. To quote Mr. Toro, “distracted enough?” As others have rightly pointed out, LL’s transfer from prison to house arrest is a move intended to distract the public and throw the MUD strategy’s off course. A simple examination of the facts reveals that nothing at a political level has changed. LL is not free. He was merely moved from a prison cell to a gilded cage. What about the fate of our nation’s other 400+ political prisoners behind bars? As far as I know, there has been no discussion of their imminent release from prison or transfer to house arrest. The MUD should not deviate from its current strategy. Street protests must continue.

  32. Do some here actually think that yesterday’s Trump-Putin meeting included serious discussion on VZ? And even if so, that Russia could exert any influence over VZ?

    How?

    Russia ain’t dangling any more loans in front of Maduro’s face…those days are over…and Russia can’t do much with their warships harbored in their Venezuelan naval bases.

    Oh, I forgot!

    Russia never did fulfill Hugo’s promise and dream of bringing Russia’s naval might to “scare” the evil empire in the north!

    Another lie and pure bullshit brought to you courtesy of Chavismo!

  33. I couldnt give more of a fuck about Leopoldo Lopez. He is not the reason why people are on the streets, is the hunger, the realization that you have no future for you or your love ones, the prodound sense of injustice of seeing the people you love die needlessly for lack of medicines that are absolutely rudimentary and the lack of decency and humanity this motherfuckers have displayed to the venezuelan populace. Venezuelans deserve to move to the next page of our history and this is bigger than a single person. Im not interested in pirric victories like Santo’s oppenning the doors to legitimate govertment to Las FARCS for his own stupid glory, if not for a more obscure reason.

  34. All very plausible, except that, from day 1 I never believed (and still don’t) that Maduro ever had any real intention to carry out the Constituent Assembly. It was and is nothing more than a negotiating ploy to terrorise the opposition leadership, as such an Assembly would not only destroy democracy and the Republic, but would also mean the end of any political relevance for the parties and individuals who make up the opposition. Lopez’s release from Ramo Verde may be seen as one faction within the regime trying to wipe the excrement off Maduro’s face after the attack (by another regime faction) on the National Assembly. It is also, as you rightly suggest, a desperate move to get at least part of the MUD to sit down with him for another circus of “dialogue”. I truly believe he doesn’t want to arrive at 30th July without some plausible excuse to cancel the Constituent Assembly before the eyes of his ever-dwindling supporters.

    As for Zapatero, the Nobel Prize is as good a reason as any, but let us not lose sight of the fact that, more than representing the interests of the Venezuelan regime, Zapatero has been charged with defending the integrity of the international left, call it Foro de Sao Paulo or whatever. They cannot allow another socialist government to be brought down by the people.

  35. Interesting thoughts LC. On the ANC, I’ve been waffling back and forth as to whether it’ll happen. At first I was sure the hard core faction was serious and would use the ANC as a means to institute a cuban-style dictatorship while claiming they staged a fair electoral process. But having said that, they’ve got to know that the opposition will take to the streets by the millions.

    Now, every time I hear a politician say “si va” in reference to the ANC, I’m more convinced it won’t happen.

  36. Lo de Leopoldo López no me preocupa, lo que me preocupa es lo del plesbiscito. Me parece que quienes quieren engañar a la gente, ocultándole la verdad sobre un acuerdo de transición (el cual no estoy criticando en sí mismo), van a salir con las tablas en la cabeza, porque nadie se va a conformar con un acuerdo que ni siquiera le explicaron bien, y el caos que se está intentando evitar a través de mentiras y estrategias de marketing político va a terminar siendo mucho peor. Hay quienes piensan que los venezolanos son cómodos y apáticos, yo no pienso eso, yo pienso que los venezolanos son todo lo contrario, y que después de tantos sacrificios y días de lucha, un acuerdo que nadie tuvo la decencia de explicar no los va a contentar. Yo no estoy en contra de acuerdos, me parece que son necesarios hasta cierto punto, pero sí estoy en contra de tratar a una sociedad entera como si fuera estúpida, me parece muy contraproducente. Tratar a la gente de esa manera fue lo que generó el conflicto, y miren lo que pasó. La gente quizás no se conforme con cualquier cosa, es lo que quiero decir. Y la gente (y esto sí es más controversial) tiene toda la razón. Los jueguitos políticos de Zapatero y compañía no van a ningún lugar, porque es posible que la gente haya pasado el límite de no retorno y no hable el mismo idioma politiquero, y sin gente (o con la gente en contra), no hay nada.

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