Dan Miller writes on Walid Makled, Venezuela, Latin America and the United States
Good for Chávez, good for Colombia, good for Obama; bad for Makled, bad for freedom in Latin America and bad for the United States.
Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe explains why Makled is of interest to the United States,
The US had actually failed to follow up on Colombia’s offer to extradite Makled to the US
in addition to being one of the most prolific drug kingpins in the world, Makled may know enough to expose the connections between the drug trade, the Venezuelan government, and terrorist group Hezbollah.
As you may recall, last Sunday Jackson Diehl of the WaPo was asking, Why isn’t Obama fighting Colombia’s dirty deal with Chavez? Diehl’s answer is that Obama has no stomach for taking on Chavez, since Obama eschews aggressive US leadership.
Miller, in turn, expands on the issue,
Although Colombia has given U.S. officials, primarily Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, “full access” to Makled, little seems to have come of it to disparage Chávez and his merry band; once he is sent to Venezuela, nothing more will. He will not be in a position to testify in any U.S. court and it seems unlikely that anything he has said or is likely to say once in Venezuela will become publicly known in the United States. Former Colombian President Uribe has stated that he opposed Makled’s extradition to Venezuela.
The way it worked out, probably without any wise guidance from the Obama Administration, Venezuela will soon silence Makled, at least for a while or perhaps permanently, and that’s a good thing for el Presidente Chávez as well as perhaps for President Obama. Besides, Colombian President Santos seems to have got some good from it and that probably hurt Chávez. A perceptive blogger in Venezuela notes,
Chávez really, really wants narcocelebrity Walid Makeld back to Venezuela where a mock trial will silence, for a few weeks at least, all the narco charges pressed against some of the highest military ranks of the Venezuelan army, and who knows how many that are into the laundering system of Venezuela, made proficient through extensive washing of corruption dirty clothing. So Santos had no trouble to force Chávez to seat [sic] down with cursed Honduras president Lobo and have the picture published, with a Chávez looking so ill at ease that for a brief instant I had some kind of sorry pity feeling for him. But very brief, rest assured, as soon as I remembered that he has only himself to blame for all the blackmail that Santos and Colombia are putting him through. Big hit for Santos if you ask me! With an additional slap at Lula, by the way as now Roussef will have it easier to renew ties with Honduras. Don’t you love this moments of ground shifting?
Another English language blogger in Honduras wrote recently that since Honduran President Lobo wanted Honduras back in the OAS he had to talk first to Colombian President Santos, the circus owner, and only after things were arranged to Chávez, a mere circus clown.
Not that the Obama Administration had all or any of this in mind; very little attention is paid (or has for a long time been paid) to goings on in South and Central America and what interest the Obama Administration has shown has generally been maldirected, as the Obama Administration waffle flipping contest in Honduras during the “military coup” that wasn’t a military coup pretty clearly demonstrated. President Obama’s Ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, was firmly on Zelaya’s side and would have been better employed monitoring EPA noxious gas emission gauges in some remote corner of Montana. The former U.S. ambassador, Charles Ford, had a very good grasp of what Zelaya was about and Llorens did not.
If we had a strong president, more interested in freedom and democracy than in “democracy” without freedom, it would be a good thing if he were more attentive to and active in Latin American affairs. As things stand, it’s better if he continues to remain aloof.
A missed opportunity, indeed.