Tuesday, July 29, 2014

US/Venezuela/Netherlands: Washington Blames Aruba, Netherlands for Release of Carvajal

According to Reuters, the United States is "deeply disappointed" the Netherlands released a former Venezuelan military intelligence chief detained over US drug trafficking allegations, and is "disturbed" at reports indicating Caracas used threats to obtain his freedom, the US State Department said on Monday (July 28).

Instead of being extradited to the United States, retired Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal flew home on Sunday (July 27) from the Netherlands' Caribbean island of Aruba after the Dutch government ruled he had diplomatic immunity. He had been arrested on Aruba on Wednesday (July 23).
Jubilant Venezuelan officials with the ruling Socialist Party celebrated his release as a "victory" over their ideological foes in the United States.

"We made a legitimate request for Carvajal’s arrest in conformity with our treaty which governs extraditions between the United States, the Netherlands, and Aruba," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a daily news briefing. She said Washington viewed Carvajal's claims of immunity as "beyond established international norms."

Opposition politicians in Venezuela and the US government say Carvajal, who ran military intelligence from 2004 to 2008, bears responsibility for years of state connivance in the illegal drug trade.

Washington put Carvajal on a blacklist in 2008, accusing him of protecting cocaine shipments from seizure by Venezuela anti-narcotics authorities and providing weapons and shelter to Colombia's FARC rebels. 

COMMENT: Surely Washington could see the "tight spot" Aruba and The Netherlands found themselves in, potentially confirming that the Netherlands had verified that Hugo Carvajal was an accredited diplomat in Aruba and did the only action it could have done under the circumstances, which was to deport Carvajal back to Venezuela as being "persona non-grata."

Of course,Washington had the same resources to verify that Carvajal was an accredited diplomat in Aruba even before Aruban and The Netherlands arrested him had they checked.
Venezuelan officials hailed Carvajal's release at a Socialist Party meeting, calling it a "victory" over US ideological foes. Carvajal was considered one of the most powerful figures during the rule of the late socialist President Hugo Chávez, a US antagonist.

If Aruba and The Netherlands had  continued to detain Carvajal, Venezuelan authorities would have permanently terminated commercial trade with both Aruba and the Netherlands (which it already had done on Sunday by ceasing flights).

If Washington were in the same situation, they never would have jeopardized commercial trade at the request of another government.

As I said on Sunday (July 27), Aruba and Holland did the only thing they could have done: Declare Carvajal "persona non-grata."

The US should fully understand Venezuelan retribution, considering the billions in US airlines have lost in unexchanged currency in Venezuela as a result of devaluation:


The case had threatened a new flare-up in long-tense relations between Caracas and Washington, as well as potentially stirring up accusations of officially sanctioned drug trading by Venezuela.

The US State Department said Washington would continue efforts to bring Carvajal to justice, blaming Caracas for his release.

"We are also disturbed by credible reports that have come to us indicating the Venezuelan government threatened the governments of Aruba, the Netherlands, and others to obtain this result," Psaki said. "This is not the way law enforcement matters should be handled."

Carvajal accused authorities in Aruba of corruption during a brief appearance on stage next to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at the Socialist Party Congress on Sunday night after his return.