Argentina’s deal with the devil

For a moment, it looked like Venezuela’s beleaguered opposition had a powerful new ally in Buenos Aires. But it didn’t take long for principles to give way to big politics.


Leopoldo López, one of the leaders of Venezuela’s opposition, is Latin America’s most famous political prisoner. During his two and a half years in jail, his jailers have locked him away in isolation, taken away his books, and sprayed him with human feces. His wife and mother have been subjected to humiliating cavity searches during visits. No international humanitarian organizations have been allowed to see him.

So one can only imagine López’s surprise when, earlier this month, his warden announced an unexpected visitor: former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Zapatero came to López with a startling offer: if he ended his campaign against the government, he could have his freedom. (López politely declined.)

A few weeks earlier, thousands of miles to the south, Argentine president Mauricio Macri had announced the candidacy of his foreign minister, Susana Malcorra, for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations.

Strange as it may seem, the two events — Zapatero’s offer to López and Malcorra’s U.N. bid — are intimately connected. The story underscores how Argentina’s new president — once seen as a vocal supporter of Venezuela’s opposition — is changing his tune, abandoning his principles in exchange for diplomatic victories.


To read more, please visit Foreign Policy.

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