An exclusive video shown by CNN last night taken from inside Leopoldo Lopez’s cell in the Ramo Verde military prison shows the Voluntad Popular leader interacting with fellow inmate Daniel Ceballos. It is not clear when the video was recorded. [Edit: CNN claims the video was recorded in October.]
In the video, Lopez can be seen clinging to his cell’s bars and trying to get a glimpse at a crowd gathered outside the prison gates. The sirens heard in the video come from vehicles belonging to prison authorities, and can be heard blaring presumably to stop Lopez and other inmates from yelling messages to their supporters.
The video shows Lopez and Ceballos exchanging words and attempt to communicate with people outside their cells. Throughout the video, both men yell at someone named “Castellanos”, who is presumably a prison authority whom the men can see recording the event from a distance.
The video can be seen below, along with my translation:
Leopoldo Lopez: The people are still out there, man.
Daniel Ceballos: Can you see them from there?
Ceballos: What can you see?
Ceballos: What are they doing?
Ceballos: What are they doing? Castellanos! Give me a copy of the video later, because I can’t see anything from here!
Lopez: Who has it [the video]?
Ceballos: Castellanos. He’s recording it from down there. Castellanos, send me a copy! This is history! But the most important thing is that we’re on the right side of history! Isn’t that right, Leopoldo?
Lopez: Yes it is, brother.
Ceballos: You came up with that phrase [“We are on the right side of history”], brother.
Lopez: It’s good, isn’t it?
Ceballos: Yeah, man. Congratulations.
Lopez: I read it somewhere.
Ceballos: It’s a minted phrase that has stuck with people, brother.
Lopez: Well, this is history being made, brother. It comes from all these difficulties, this adversity.
Ceballos: Castellanos, send me a copy!
Lopez: Hello, Castellanos!
Ceballos: Say “Hello!” to all of the people at the DIM [Direccion de Inteligencia Militar, the military police]
Lopez: … to everyone at the DIM, to all of the ones who’ve come by here, all the sergeants, all the lieutenants who’ve come to keep us company from the DIM. Send them our greetings, and remind them that our struggle is concrete and clear: it’s one for a Venezuela in which all rights apply to all people. No discrimination, no abuses of power, where no one’s rights are violated, and where everyone has access to healthcare, work, a home. All rights for all people!
Ceballos: Look, Leo, the riot police are here.
Ceballos: The riot police are here.
Lopez: I can’t see them.
Ceballos: [inaudible: it sounds like he’s saying, “I can see their motorcycles down there, man”]. There’s no riot here in Ramo Verde! The riot is out there in the lines and in the supermarkets! The riot is in Venezuelan’s pockets, in the scarcity, when the lights go out, when there aren’t enough schools! The riot is everywhere! There’s no force in this world than can oppress a people tired of having their rights violated!
Lopez: We’re going to keep going, brother. We will keep going. We’ll be strong. Let’s give them a cacerolita[in Venezuela, a cacerolazo is a form of protest where people bang pots and pans loudly. Cacerolita is the diminutive form of the noun].
Lopez and Ceballos begin to bang on the bars of their cells.
Lopez has been in the Ramo Verde military prison since February 18, 2014. Daniel Ceballos was sent to the prison on March 18, 2014, and was recently ordered released into house arrest.
Maduro Claims to Have Evidence of Lopez Assassination Plot
Speaking during a televised event last night, Maduro said that he had audio evidence that members of the Venezuelan opposition had plotted to kill Voluntad Popular‘s Leopoldo Lopez. While Maduro did not present the evidence, he did say that the same group of people selected to assassinate Lopez murdered a woman named Liana Hergueta in Caracas earlier this month.
It was proposed to this group of people to assassinate Leopoldo Lopez (…) I have an audio recording of an opposition leader giving the order to murder Lopez. I have it, and I will release it some time at the precise historic moment, I will let it be known to Venezuelan justice and public opinion.
Maduro did not explain how, why, or when he gained procession of the tape. He also did not explain why he was choosing to keep it secret instead of handing it over to the relevant authorities.
He also explained that the alleged assassination was supposed to have taken place on February 18 of last year: the day Lopez handed himself over to police. Maduro said that the point of the assassination would have been to “blame the revolution” for Lopez’s death.
Maduro’s statements suggest that he has been in procession of this tape for at least a year and a half, but has chosen to keep it from the hands of authorities for some reason. One of Leopoldo Lopez’s lawyers, Rodolfo Marrero, reminded Maduro today that keeping such a tape from authorities would constitute “covering up a criminal act”, and urged him to give the tape to the police if it really does exist.
Perez Venta Implicates ~25 Entities in Video Confession
Maduro also showed Jose Perez Venta’s video confession last night on his weekly show, En Contacto Con Maduro. Venta is accused of having raped and murdered Liana Hergueta in Caracas earlier this month.
In the video (which can be seen below), Venta implicates no less than 25 entities in his criminal activities, including former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, two sitting U.S. members of congress, and Venezuelan actress Maria Conchita Alonoso.
Below is a list of all the entities Venta implicated, and (where possible) how he claims they are connected to him:
- JAVU, a student group, and Julio Cesar Rivas, the group’s founder.
- An unnamed retired Venezuelan army officer, whom he met in Cucuta, Colombia.
- An unnamed paramilitary soldier.
- Operacion Libertad, a student group and its head, Lorent Saleh.
- Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and former Colombian presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.
- Voluntad Popular and Alianza Bravo Pueblo, two opposition parties.
- Richard Blanco, the head of Alianza Bravo Pueblo.
- Maria Corina Machado, Leopoldo Lopez, and Antonio Ledezma, whom he claims gave him orders during the events of February 12, 2014.
- Henrique Capriles, whom he claims “has given him instructions”.
- Miguel Henrique Otero, the head of El Nacional newspaper.
- Villca Fernandez, Jean Piero Osorio, and Alejandro Zerpa, student leaders with whom he “discussed the complete and perpetual financing” of the 2014 unrest.
- Betty Grossi (whom Venta connects with U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, both of whom Venta claims financed his operations.
- Actress Maria Conchita Alonso, whom he claims financed his operations.
- A man named Phil Laidlaw, whom he claims is connected with the U.S. Embassy in Caracas.
- Gaby Arellano, a student leader.
While Perez did not state so himself in the confession video, Jorge Rodriguez said on Monday that Perez had been the chief of security for Maria Corina Machado. Today, Machado’s legal team refuted the claims, stating unequivocally that Perez has never been associated with Machado or her Vente Venezuela party.
Rubio: Maduro is a “Corrupt Clown”
U.S. Senator Marco was quick to respond to the video. Rubio, who is currently running for President, made light of the video and referenced an earlier statement by Maduro, saying:
Nicolas Maduro has said the late Hugo Chavez once visited him as a reincarnated bird, and it sounds like he’s having another similar episode (…) Nicolás Maduro is a corrupt clown, and the Venezuelan people deserve better than the repression, economic mismanagement and human rights abuses they are getting from their current corrupt leaders.
U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also responded to the video, telling The Miami Herald:
This false claim by Maduro is another attempt to concoct a distraction away from his dismal policies that have caused food shortages, high unemployment, a fraudulent electoral process, and an economic crisis (…) The people of Venezuela know that the fault for this hardship is not due to any outside element, but falls squarely on the shoulders of Maduro and his corrupt regime.
Questions/Comments? E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org