When Hugo Chavez held a press conference in Havana broadcast to Venezuela suggesting that the Makled case was an attempt by the US to make him look bad, it was clear that the case was getting murkier and murkier. It simply makes no sense for a President to mention such a case.
But the Makled case is getting more and more complicated as the Government tries to avoid or ignore the case, rather than go after the principals. Unfortunately, the principals in the end involve too many military buddies. Had they been civilians it would have not mattered much.
But lets look back at the history of the case. The Makled brothers, of Syrian origin, were wholesale and retail sellers of appliances in Valencia when Hugo Chavez became President. The four brothers were close to the revolution. One, Abdala, even became President of the Bolivarian Federation of Businessmen. Slowly the Makled brothers rose in the political and business world. All of a sudden, the three brothers controlled the Puerto Cabello docks, the most important port in the Nation, Aeropostal Airline, the second largest one in the country and the country’s petrochemical company Pequiven gave them the rights to the distribution of urea in the country.
In 2004, the US DEA, in cooperation with Venezuelan drug enforcement officials began investigating the Makled brothers for suspicion of being involved in the drug trade. At that time, the Government captured a shipment of chemicals used in making drugs and they had been purchased by a company owned by the Makleds.
Makled related shipments out of Puerto Cabello became the norm and many were captured abroad. It was impossible for the Venezuelan military not to know about this, it was moving Tons of Colombian cocaine right under their noses. Reportedly, it was Abdala’s launching his candidacy to be Mayor of Valencia which broke the groups’ immunity from Government persecution. In November 2008, a shipment of drugs was captured in the Makled’s farm and three of the brothers were jailed, while a fourth one, Walid, going to Colombia, where he was eventually arrested. Walid wants to be extradited to the US, while Chavez wants him to be sent to Venezuela.
Both the US and Colombia say Makled was one of the biggest drug smugglers in the world. The US wants Walid, but so does Chavez. Chavez even said in his program that President Santos offered to send Makled to Venezuela, something we doubt truly happened. The US has accused General Rangel Silva of being involved with drug smuggling, the same General that said this week that the Armed Forces would not accept and opposition victory in 2012. Makled has also said he bribed the brother of the Minister of the Interior, which the Minister has denied. Makled claims to have proof.
What is remarkable is that until Chavez spoke, there was little discussion from the Government on the case. The Prosecutor certainly has said nothing about it, while she is quick to chat away about less significant subjects.
But anybody’s suspicions have to be aroused when yesterday, the Deputies from Podemos, asked that the National Assembly investigate Makled as well as the words of General Rangel Silva. They both were denied.
Clearly there is certainly something going on. Makled is no saint, but neither is the circle of virtue that he is being surrounded with. Chavez is clearly protecting lots of people, so he is unwilling to let anyone near the subject. But something is rotten in Miraflores and Makled will make the whole thing blow up, if he goes to the States. There is simply no excuse and no defense for Chavez to be blocking any investigation of this case.
And that is what Chavez wants to stop and Santos is taking advantage of. Given the independence of Colombia’s judiciary, I would bet Makled does not up in Venezuela. And if he does go to the US, the revelations will truly be incredible.
And Makled claims to have proof.
Can it get any better than this?