Leopoldo Lopez scores two big points today

Home late tonight I finally can catch up and I am pleasantly surprised by two big wins for Leopoldo Lopez showing that the ruling of Luisa Estella is not holding water outside of Venezuela (not that it is holding much inside the country for that matter).

The first win might not be that big a priori because it is an article in The Economist.  Besides the magazine taking the points I wrote (not that they read me, I would not be so pretentious, but they are the ones that make the most sense, including their appreciation on Leopoldo's chances) it also speculates on the possibility that dissension within chavismo might be reaching the TSJ who is thinking that maybe they better start getting ready for a transition as peaceful as possible.

Now, this is a great piece and of great importance because The Economist is an important opinion maker and reaches people that would never read on Leopoldo Lopez travails at this point in the campaign if it were not for The Economist.  That The Economist has published such a piece is a witness on how the screwed up judicial system of Venezuela is finally impressing people outside, and investors.  Bad economic days ahead of Venezuela is the immediate forecast as even fewer people will be willing to invest scarce money now that Europe is about to forget about a big chunk of the Greek debt (and other debts as a consequence).

The second piece seems big but in my point of view is not necessarily as foretelling as the piece on The Economist.  It is a communique posted by the Carter Center.  Remember, the people that screwed up Venezuelan democracy in 2002-2003?  And this is where this communique fails somewhat as it is signed by too many people that should have known better years ago and that seem to suddenly realize that a transition is unavoidable in Venezuela and maybe it is time to start posturing in front of the world, and the Venezuelan opposition.  Now, I do not want to give any demerit to Leopoldo: it is quite a feat for him to force some of these people to almost confess that they have been wrong all along on Chavez.  But the fact of the matter is that The Economist article might go further to help Leopoldo, if anything at convincing a few wanna be investors to find creative ways to finance his campaign through local Venezuelan donors.

Still, it is an impressive list of signatories, all "friends of the IACHR".  And that these people compare Chavez regime as the only regime with Fujimori not to respect IACHR tells us quite a yarn of a tale of how discredited Chavez's Venezuela is today. Let's look at a few names.  The "bad" ones first and the good ones after.

I would call the "bad" ones because one of their intentions is to find forgiveness for letting down Venezuela in the past and be thus members of the group of people that bear direct responsibility on what Venezuela has become.  Still, their name on the list is worthwhile and does not take away merits that they have acquired elsewhere.

Jimmy Carter
Former President of the United States of America
César Gaviria
Former President of Colombia

These two can be put in the same lot as the ones that botched completely the referendum results of 2004.  But adding injury to that, after having convinced the opposition to "dialogue" with Chavez and almost forced them to sign the agreement, they abandoned the commission members to their fate when they should have been protecting them.  Many of them have been harassed since, and some had to find the road of exile because Chavez  never forgave them from standing up to him. Still, Gaviria being currently vice president of the Madrid Club may give him further chances to redeem himself if he convicnes them to sign up a similar letter.

John Maisto
Former U.S. Ambassador to the OAS (and ambassador to Venezuela)

He will be remembered as "do not pay attention to what Chavez says but only to what he does".  With that single sentence he castrated any US initiative for the best part of a decade.

Jorge Castañeda
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico

He is not a "bad" one really, arriving into office after Chavez election.  But his mangling of inner Mexican affairs killed Mexico as a potential player in the Venezuelan crisis.

The "good" ones are either good per se, or good because they can cause some trouble in their countries where sympathies for Chavez may run deeper than you may think.  The best case is former Uruguay president Lacalle who lost to Mujica last year but who by signing that communique will cause Mujica to think better before going out to support Chaevz, as is his natural tendency.

Alejandro Toledo
Former President of Peru
Joaquín Villalobos
Founder of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), Signatory of the Peace Agreements of El Salvador in 1992

These are definitively the two best names on that list because their democratic credentials are today among the best ones even if in the past Villalobos might not have been the best example. Also during his tenure Toledo made no concession to Chavez even when this one was at the height of his influence in Latin America.  Toledo had no problem risking isolation within South America so much already Chavez reminded him of Fujimori. Toledo will also be of great help to avoid Humala to get too comfy with Chavez.