At an event held at the Plaza Marti in Chacaito in support of Leopoldo Lopez, his wife, Lilian Tintori, read aloud a letter penned by her husband. The letter is dated September 11, 2015: one day after his sentence.

Below, an English translation of the letter, courtesy of www.freeleopoldo.com, a website of English-speaking Lopez supporters:

He who tires, loses and I will never tire of fighting for a free Venezuela!

More than a year ago, the corrupt elite that governs Venezuela ordered my arrest in the vain hope that I would flee the country.  I chose to step forward, and present myself to the dictatorship in full view of the world.  I made this decision without hesitation.  I was prepared to confront the full weight of the dictatorship’s abuses.  I was fully aware of what I was facing and the likely consequences.  I was, and am, at peace with that.

Today, those consequences are a reality.  I have been convicted by an elite that has demonstrated openly and brazenly that there is no level of dishonesty it won’t stoop to in order to preserve its power and privileges.  But even now I do not regret in the least the decision I took.  I am at peace, for a simple and powerful reason:  great causes deserve great sacrifices.

I am more convinced than ever of the righteousness of our cause, which is none other than the liberation of an entire people who suffer the painful consequences of a model that has failed economically, politically and socially;  a fair and democratic cause seeking Venezuela’s peace, well-being and progress; a human cause that wants all rights for all people, without exclusions or privileges; above all a moral cause, one that compels us to always be on the side of the victims and never on the side of the predators.

In issuing this judgment, Venezuela’s governing elite hopes to utterly demoralize all those who strive for a better country.   They want to kill our hopes and make us believe this noble cause is not worth the suffering.  They want us to surrender to their abuses without further resistance.

But sisters and brothers, this judgment can only make us stronger in our convictions.  We cannot allow ourselves to be overcome, we cannot tire, on the contrary, we must rise again and again to achieve peacefully and democratically the change that our country so badly needs.  This is what I’m going to do and it is also what I, from the bottom of my heart, urge you to do.

For Venezuela to move forward we must change the system, which can only happen by standing up to the corrupt elite that holds our country prisoner. On December 6, we have an excellent opportunity to move in that direction, and secure change that will allow us to open the door to a better future for ourselves and our children.

In these difficult times, I recall the words of the pacifist leader Mahatma Gandhi who said: “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”

Today they have Venezuela in chains but we have the strength, the endurance and the faith to make our country free again.

Lastly, to my beloved Lilian, give to our children a very special message: they will hear from some people that their father is guilty and that he will be imprisoned for many years.  That is not true.  Today your father is freer than ever.  My soul, my ideas and my love for you flies high, very high, in the sky above our beautiful Venezuela.  I am here and I am not going anywhere.  They will not be able to tear us apart and I promise that we will soon all live together in the Best Venezuela, where we will laugh, play and sing without feeling fear.

¡Strength and Faith!
 Leopoldo López
September 11, 2015
Ramo Verde Military Prison
Sentenced to 13 years and 9 months in prison

The link to the translation above can be found here.

Images of the letter in Leopoldo’s handwriting can be found here.

Colombia Claims Venezuelan Air Force Violation

The Colombian Ministry of Defense issued a release today in which it details an alleged violation of its airspace by two Venezuelan military aircraft. The incursion occurred in the northern tip of Zulia state.

The release can be found here, and my translation follows below:

Bogota, September 13, 2015

The Ministry of the Defense informs that in the afternoon hours of Saturday, September 12, 2015, the air defense system of the Colombian Air Force detected the entry into Colombian territory of two Venezuelan military aircraft in the Alta Guajira zone.

Initially, the two Venezuelan military aircraft entered 2.9 kilometers into Colombian airspace, flew over the Majayura zone; then disappeared rapidly heading towards Castilletes.

Then, the two military airplanes flew over a unit of the National Army in the La Flor region, entering approximately 2.27 kilometers into the territory, then flying rapidly away again towards Castilletes.

The Ministry of National Defense has forwarded this information to the Directorate of Sovereignty of the Chancellery  of San Carlos, with the goal of asking Venezuela for an explanation for these events.

The event marks the first time that a violation of Colombian airspace by Venezuelan military aircraft has been made known to the public since tensions between the two countries rose following the closing of border crossings in Tachira state on August 19.

On September 5, an unmanned drone belonging to Tachira state crashed in Colombia just steps over the border while governor Jose Vielma Mora hosted a press conference in the area.

Former Professor Calls Lopez Judge “Perverse Being”

Alvaro Albornoz, a lawyer and former professor to judge Susana Barreiros, has written an open letter criticizing her deviation from the principles of justice and fairness he claims to have taught her at the Universidad Bicentenaria de Aragua.

In the letter, Albornoz claims that he knew as a “clam and friendly” student, and that he is shocked to find out how much “evil and cruelty” there is in her heart, as evidenced by her sentencing of a man Albornoz claims is “innocent”.

Albornoz also tells Barreiros that he is “ashamed” of her, and warns her that when the current government collapses, her name will become synonymous with human rights violations, making it unable for her to “find a job for the rest of your life”.

Finally, Albornoz warns Barreiros that “you will soon realize that you have made the worst mistake of your life”, and ends the article with a picture that has been making the rounds through social media recently: Barreiros posing alongside National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello at an undated event:

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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