Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, has been formally charged with “conspiracy and association to commit crimes.”
However the charges do not seem to be directly related to the recently “unveiled” coup plot –interchangeably called the “Blue Coup” or “Jericho Operation” by government officials and media,- but to a previous alleged plot revealed with the arrest of student activists Lorent Gómez Saleh, Gabriela Valles, Ronny Navarro, Gerardo Carrero, and Renzo Prieto in September 2014.
The then Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres showed videos of Gómez Saleh in which the activist boasted of contacts with the Colombian Army and explained a plan to take over “bank offices and liquor stores” at the frontier state of Táchira. Gómez Saleh also expressed admiration for Ledezma and said that he should definitely be included in his plan.
At the time, Ledezma declared that indeed he had personally met Saleh before, but denied any involvement in the subversive plans of the young activist: “If these things are true,” declared Ledezma back in September 2014, “they are indefensible. Who could defend something so removed from common sense? We are far from [backing] terrorist and coup plans.”
President Maduro, for example, did not mention the Gómez Saleh case during his cadena at the time Ledezma was being arrested. He did however talk about the recently “unveiled” coup plot for which a public “transition plan” signed by Ledezma and other opposition leaders is being presented by the government as evidence of a “coded” order to bomb Caracas.
Given that the government’s rhetoric claims it is the permanent victim of an ongoing or continuous coup attempt (golpe continuado), the whole series of plots alleged by Maduro during these past two years can be understood as interchangeable parts of a single coup attempts. In this sense it makes little difference with what specific plot the opposition leader is charged with, since the “evidence” of previous plots is deployed to prove the existence of recent conspiracies.