Kafka in Caracas

On Aug. 25 in Caracas, Judge Susana Barreiros announced the sudden and unexpected conclusion of judicial proceedings against Leopoldo López, the charismatic 44-year-old leader of the opposition party Voluntad Popular, or Popular Will, and the most highly regarded of Venezuela’s beleaguered opposition movement. Since surrendering to the authorities in February 2014, in the midst of widespread mostly peaceful protests against the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro, López has been incarcerated in the military prison of Ramo Verde outside Caracas. The charges against him — arson, public incitement, damaging public property, and conspiracy — are all related to the demonstrations López was leading at the time. If convicted, he may face as much as 12 years in prison.