Column: Kevin de León is on an apology tour. When will he realize it’s a farewell tour?
Kevin de León, an American citizen and resident, was convicted and sentenced to a jail term in Venezuela. (He is currently incarcerated in the National Penitentiary of Carabobo, near the Venezuelan border, for what the Justice Department said was an act of seditious conspiracy.) The Department of Justice says it has found no crime committed by Mr. de León. But it does acknowledge that the Justice Department, the State Department, the White House, and the U.S. Treasury all had conflicting views of the case and Mr. de León.
In the last week, Mr. de León’s supporters in the U.S. and abroad have mounted a campaign of outrage over the treatment of their prisoner abroad, and for good reason. The facts are not in dispute. If this case was important enough to risk a confrontation with the powerful and well-financed Venezuelan government, Mr. de León deserved better than to be sent to a jail cell in Venezuela under the watchful eye of the United States.
On Friday, a court in the U.S. said Mr. de León should go free, and another court may yet do so. Mr. de León’s supporters have been demanding a trial in the U.S. for his illegal detention for weeks and have won a promise that Mr. de León would appear for a hearing to clear his name.
On Monday, Mr. de León won his freedom. But he was not free from the taint of his imprisonment. Mr. de León’s supporters will try to use his freedom as an opportunity to demand accountability for his detention and the treatment of U.S. citizens who live in the Americas and elsewhere who, like Mr. de León, do not have the power to influence foreign policy or foreign governments.
Many Americans—including many Venezuelan expatriates—do not have diplomatic status. But the United States is no