May 12, 2014

Leopoldo López Remains in Military Prison
Following Arbitrary Cancellation of Pre-Trial Hearing

"Today the unfair justice hid. What is it afraid of? The truth? They know that I should be released. I hope they don't defer [Ivan] Simonivis' release. He must be freed. He is not in good health."

-- Leopoldo López

May 8, 2014

Leopoldo López returned to prison without hearing: Last Thursday, Judge Adriana Lopez of the Court 16° of Control abruptly canceled Leopoldo's probable cause hearing five hours after his arrival at the Courthouse. She ordered his return to the Ramo Verde military prison, where he has been unjustly detained in isolation for over 80 days. Leopoldo's lawyers affirm that the Court can defer the hearing "as many times as it desires" without cause or explanation. It is unknown when his case will proceed.

Lack of judicial independence exposed: The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on May 8 to examine Venezuela's political crisis. Central to the discussions was commentary on the lack of judicial independence, notably in Leopoldo's case. Mr. José Miguel Vivanco, Executive Director, Americas Division, Human Rights Watch observed: " Eighty percent of the judges in Venezuela are provisional judges, they don't have tenure. They can be fired with no due process overnight - including the judge that is investigating the case against Leopoldo López, who is a provisional judge who could lose her job just by a decision of the Supreme Court, which is completely on the side of the government."

For further information, watch the complete hearing and read the Human Rights Watch investigative report on Venezuela, Punished for Protesting.

Majority of Venezuelans now believe they live in a dictatorship: A new Datanálisis poll out of Venezuela shows that Maduro's approval is plummeting as summarized in this article. One significant finding of the poll that is not mentioned in the article: 53% stated that Venezuela's political system is best described as a dictatorship, compared to 42% who describe it as a democracy.