Friday, April 1, 2011

Where will Walid go?

Which way to go?
Walid 'The Turk' Makled, an alleged big-time narcotrafficker from Venezuela is now cooling his heals in a Colombian prison wondering whether he should tell his tailor to make him sweaters or bermuda shorts.

That's because it's clear that Makled will be extradited - but not whether he'll go to the U.S., which wants to try him for narcotrafficking and pump him for information about Venezuelan corruption and possible government links to terrorism, or home to Venezuela, where he'll likely recant and get a slap on the wrist.

Makled was a hugely succesfull businessman back home, where he controlled, among lots of other things, Venezuelan ports and an airline. But Makled made a fateful visit to Cucuta, Colombia, and got arrested.

Chavez: "He's no friend of mine."
For reasons which I don't understand, Makled has been singing loudly in interviews like this one and this one about alleged widespread corruption in Venezuela. Maybe he likes the attention, or maybe he's shooting for a new life in the U.S.'s Federal Witness Protection Program.

With Colombian-Venezuelan relations warming, Colombian Pres. Santos has promised to send Makled back home. But perhaps today's scheduled meeting in Cartagena between Santos and Ven. Pres. Chavez was postponed because Santos wasn't ready to deliver Makled on a platter.

Venezuela has lots of chips to offer for Makled, including payment of debts to Colombia and the extradition of Colombian criminals who now live tranquilly in Venezuela. The U.S. has the free trade agreement, which Obama can't deliver.

Form letter from Chavez's
office to Makled, thanking
him for contributing to
social justice. 
If Makled is sent home, he'll either spent some very unpleasant time in solitary for his comments, or quickly announce that they were all lies made under threat of waterboarding and get home detention is his beach house. If he goes to the U.S., U.S. authorities will use his declarations to place drug charges on more Venezuelan authorities. Venezuela will deny the charges and continue happily selling oil to el imperio, which will continue unhappily buying it.

I'm not sure why Washington is fighting so hard for this guy.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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