“Who would have thought that the Attorney General could be our savior?” she said out loud. She is still wearing her “yoga outfit” while she has a coffee with a couple of friends at a panadería (bakery/coffeeshop) in Santa Paula, a better-off neighborhood in Caracas.
“I have faith that Venezuela can overcome all of this and maybe Luisa Ortega Díaz is what we were needing,” she said. With all of her family out of the country and a “huge disappointment” after the latest decisions of the opposition, for her, Ortega Díaz is the last hope. “She is now out of the country and she has good information about the government, she will deliver all of that information to the USA or any other government and the truth will come out. They can run but they can’t hide,” she said.
Once Ortega Díaz decided to speak out against the government, she decided to let bygones be bygones. “You know the enemy of my enemy is my friend, is that what they say?” she says, with a laugh. In her 60’s she is now living alone, so most of her time she hangs out with her friends.
Reading up on the news take a good part of her time and, for years, she’s considered herself an escuálida.
She has good information about the government, she will deliver all of that information to the USA or any other government and the truth will come out.
“God helps us to finally put an end to this nightmare,” she told me.
“It’s better to have her on our team, she has so much valuable information, the kind of stuff that can bring down this government, and if she accomplishes that, we can forget all the time that she was part of chavismo”, she tells me.
But not all opositores trust Luisa Ortega that much.
“For years she’s been part of all this tragedy, all this malandraje, and now you’re telling me that one day she woke up and she realized that she’d been wrong? All the innocent people that she sent to jail don’t matter?” a man in his eighties asks me.
“You should realize that people don’t end up in positions of power for no reason, there’s a lot of money involved, maybe there was some betrayal,” he continues.
For him, the solution to the crisis in Venezuela comes from the people.
“We’ll soon wake up as a society. Venezuela is a beautiful country and I’ve always said, to any young person, stay here, fight. Being outside of your country is a terrible thing. I came from Spain and I found this beautiful country, we can’t let that chavismo steal it from us”, he explains to me.
On the other end of the coffee shop, a young couple is talking.
You’re telling me that one day she woke up and she realized that she’d been wrong? All the innocent people that she sent to jail don’t matter?
“We may don’t know what Luisa Ortega’s motives are but we have to take what she’s offering us. What better way to learn more about the government that from someone that was a part of it?” the young woman said as she puts her iPhone away discreetly in a fashionable purse. For her partner, the doubt about Ortega Díaz’s motivation runs deeper: “She put almost all of Voluntad Popular in jail, and now we’re supposed to forget about that? Justice has to be for everyone,” he told.
For him, Luisa Ortega is just holding on to her last shred of power: “She knows that chavismo is finished and there’s no place to run for them, so she’s trying to save herself. Probably she’s trying to take control of dissident chavismo, thinking we’ll want to vote for a new kind of chavismo in the next presidential elections,” he says, then catches himself. “Well, if we ever have another election, once Maduro and his goons are done.”
For chavismo, the line is clear. As Ortega Díaz travels across Latin America, the party line is to denounce her as a simple “traitor.” But she’s not completely welcome in the opposition, either. “She told us she’s is still a chavista, probably she’s mad because le quitaron su tajada [she lost access to corruption opportunities],“ the young guy said.
A savior, a blessing or a traitor trying to save herself, the opposition is still not sure how to portray Ortega Díaz. For now, they’re just thankful to see one of the most important players in chavismo is spilling the beans.