How could Wil Hylton’s NYT article “miss” that Leopoldo Lopez participated in violent ouster of Hugo Chavez?

An extremely long article in the New York Times today has the headline “Can Venezuela Be Saved?”

The subhead reads “As a nation unwinds, Leopoldo López, the opposition’s most prominent leader, sits under house arrest and contemplates what might still be possible.”

The article states

“The world is full of byzantine methods to communicate through encrypted channels, but most of them are obviated for a person who is trapped in a digital glass house and surrounded by the state security of an authoritarian regime.”

I guess the author, Wil S. Hylton, never read a Venezuelan newspaper or watched any Venezuelan TV.

Nobody with any integrity can look at its media and call Venezuela “authoritarian”.

Hylton’s article is 8,700 words long, focused on Lopez, but never once mentions that Lopez participated in the coup that ousted Chavez in 2002 and installed Pedro Carmona. Apparently Hylton “missed” the readily available videos of Lopez leading the kidnaping of chavista official during the coup and bragging that he had updated “President Carmona” on the matter. Here is a video of Lopez leading the kidnapping. Another video shows Lopez giving reporters an account of it. At about the 19 second mark of another video, Lopez tells journalists that “President Carmona has been updated”.

By ignoring all this, Hylton evades any need to explain how Lopez stayed out of jail until 2014 under an “authoritarian” government or to mention the amnesty that Lopez profited from.

Hylton’s article closes by noting that Lopez is “flexible” to the idea of a coup or even a military invasion.

Why is Lopez willing to say that to a foreign journalist while under house arrest in an “authoritarian regime”?

“He was willing to entertain proposals that he found abhorrent six months ago” wrote Hylton.

Those ideas were obviously not abhorrent to Lopez when he participated in a coup and updated “President Carnona” – the dictator hailed by the New York Times editorial board.

I find it hard to believe Hyton’s stunning omission was made due to ignorance.

On a side note, Hylton did ask Luisa Ortega – the formerly more chavista than Chavez Attorney General – about Leopoldo Lopez. I wondered a long time ago why nobody seemed interested to ask her about Lopez. Her response is further evidence (in case anyone needs it) that she broke with the government out of some combination of fear and opportunism. She had announced in 2015 that she was going to sue the U.S. government because she either knew (or perhaps assumed) that she had been hit with a VISA ban.                                   

Hylton wrote

The attorney general, Luisa Ortega, escaped to Colombia last summer and says that the vice president of Maduro’s party instructed her to pursue López. I tracked Ortega down a few weeks ago, and we met for coffee in Bogotá. When I asked her about the criminal charges against López, she shook her head in dismay. “Without a doubt,” she said, “Leopoldo López is a political prisoner.”



  1. avatar
    Michael March 10, 2018 3:50 pm 

    The NYTimes coverage on Venezuela is a travesty and great shame. They are not alone, of course, but they unfortunately lead the way!

  2. Barry Wood March 2, 2018 6:12 pm 

    Leopoldo López was instrumental in the deaths of the Chavistas during last year’s opposition’s violent attempts to oust President Maduro.

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