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September 2015
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Monthly Archives: September 2015

THE SENTENCING of Venezuela's opposition leader, Leopoldo López, to nearly 14 years in prison, on top of the 18 months he has already spent in mostly-solitary confinement, triggered a range of different reactions. Amnesty International, a global human-rights lobby, said of the verdict: “The charges against [him] were never adequately substantiated and the prison sentence against him is clearly politically motivated. His only ‘crime’ was being leader of an opposition party in Venezuela.”  Human Rights Watch, another international watch-dog, spoke of "egregious violations" of due process. Mr López himself sent a hand-written note from jail saying that he had been fully aware of the consequences when he defied pressure from the regime to leave the country. "My soul, my ideals and my love for you are flying high in the skies above our beautiful Venezuela," he wrote to his wife and two children.What about the Vatican? Considering that this is an overwhelmingly Catholic country where the Holy See has strong connections (its secretary of state Pietro Parolin was serving there till 2013) and that Mr López himself is Catholic, people might have expected Pope Francis or at least a senior Vatican spokesman to issue an instant condemnation of the verdict. But for better or worse, that is not the current papacy's way; it prefers to make its feelings known more discreetly, and ... Continue reading