Pursuant to months of coddling by the Obama Administration, including a photo-op of senior State Department official Tom Shannon with National Assembly President (and drug kingpin) Diosdado Cabello and outreach by John Kerry himself, Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro handed pro-democracy leader Leopoldo Lopez a 13-year prison sentence.
Maduro has learned from his Cuban masters that there are no repercussions from the United States for such misbehavior.
Similarly, we shouldn't be surprised that Ecuador's Rafael Correa has moved shutdown that country's only press freedom group, Fundamedios.
After all, if the Western Hemisphere's worst violator of human rights (and only totalitarian dictatorship) is getting concession-after-concession from the Obama Administration without having to adjust its behavior one iota, then Castro's puppets (and wanna-be authoritarians) in the region have nothing to worry about.
And, sadly, it's going to get worse.
Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez sentenced
Prominent Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison.
He was found guilty of inciting violence during protests in 2014 in which 43 people - from both sides of the political divide - were killed.
The 44-year-old had been held in a military prison since February 2014.
While the court verdict was being awaited, fighting broke out between his supporters and pro-government activists outside the courthouse in Caracas.
Lopez's supporters said one of their number had suffered a heart-attack during the disturbances.
The court ruling was revealed by Lopez's Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) political party and later confirmed by his lawyers.
His defence team earlier said there had been serious irregularities in the trial, with the judge hearing 138 witnesses for the prosecution but only one of the 50 witnesses and pieces of evidence submitted by the defence.
His family says he has been in solitary confinement for most of his 19 months in prison and that his human rights have been violated.
at 11:30 PM Thursday, September 10, 2015
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