Makled case gets murkier and murkier for Hugo Chavez

November 10, 2010


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.

I have not written much about the case, it has been covered extensively elsewhere. I did write abut his accusations, simply because they were incredible and the Government barely reacted.

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?

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18 Responses to “Makled case gets murkier and murkier for Hugo Chavez”

  1. Juancho Says:

    Ira said: And since when is the political ever separate from the financial anyway, so I don’t get your point.
    ———

    Good question. Looked at superficially, there would be little difference between the political and financial. Generally, in Venezuela, the political merely serves the financial, meaning that political posturing is often used to get your hands on the Bs or dollars or lucre of any fashion. Take away the dough, and no one is bothering with politics except narcissists and faux socialists doing it all for the pueblo (so long as the greenbacks are rolling in).

    Recall when Argentina went belly and they couldn’t get anyone to be president because the cupboards were empty, ergo, there was no loot to burgle and no incentive to play Presidente. No politics there- just dough.

    You see there is such a thing as a pure money grubber who doesn’t give as rat’s ass about any politics, society, or your well being. Just give me the dinero and it’s all cheverie, vedrdad. This mindset is what polarized the country in the first palce. Los Ricos didn’t care if the poor just dried up and died. Still don’t. That’s why things are frozen, and revenge is taken upon viable businesses – just to see them fail.

    It’s sad.

    Gotta work. Maybe more later…
    J

  2. Ira Says:

    Juancho, we’re talking about Colombia, not Columbia.

    And since when is the political ever separate from the financial anyway, so I don’t get your point.

  3. Juancho Says:

    He wrote: “Under what criteria does the judiciary work to decide WHERE to extradite someone, if two nations are requesting extradition? It’s basically a coin toss, so in the end, it becomes political.”

    Say what? This is South America. In the end, it ALWAYS becomes FINANCIAL. What is someone willing to PAY to get their freaking manos on El Syriano, pues? How is Columbia advantaged by holding Makled? Who actually believes Columbia just hands this narcotrafficante over to Venezuela. That’s a multi-million dollar deal there – of that we may be sure, because if Makled sings to reliable sources, Chavez is cooked and can only attack the credibility of the inquisitors and call Makled a liar, which he certainly is.

    Oh, this is going to get interesante very quickly here.

    And the idea of the Columbia judiciary being independent is a stretch. Independent of what? Graft, corruption, colusion, private interests, drug dough, et al. Come on. Columbia?

    JL

  4. GWEH Says:

    the T&T operation was running for five years and nobody knew about it? These guys where funded, trained and equipped with the very best gear. What are the benefits of this rogue operation? I see the Cubans and Venezuelans behind it.. they have lots to gain.

  5. GWEH Says:

    if the newbies and novices want to learn how chavez’ intelligence apparatus works, I suggest you watch the documentary “Spies like us”

    Seriously

  6. loroferoz Says:

    “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.”

    Greed broke the sack. Why did these guys even have to begin smuggling drugs? Walid Makled is made to be a capo dei capi. But he was surely well-connected to other criminal operations, including those run from the Drug Cartels and Terrorist Organizations that claim to be the government and military of Venezuela.

    “It was impossible for the Venezuelan military not to know about this, it was moving Tons of Colombian cocaine right under their noses. ” “The US has accused General Rangel Silva of being involved with drug smuggling, the same General that said this week…”

    The most corrupt and the least institutional military this side of Equatorial Africa (other Lat-Am military do not come close). Why don’t try we and rid ourselves of THEM ALL ASAP? They corrupt the very concept of public life and office in Venezuela with their very existence.

    Really, does Hugo Chavez know the meaning of the word discretion?

  7. mick Says:

    If Santos keeps Makled and the US base agreement in limbo:

    Hugo pays some back debt;
    Hugo agrees to let Colombian business back in;
    Hugo has his troops slow the drug flow;

    Uncle Sam keeps sending cash;
    Uncle Sam keeps troops in Colombia(paid for by the US);
    Spain and the DEA can interview Makled unofficially in his jail.

    I bet Makled stays put until Hugo loses the election and tries to start a violent Cuban inspired revolution. Hugo’s days are numbered, but it’s not going to be pretty.

  8. Johnny Says:

    After all this exchange I wonder who were the facilitators and who were the traffickers. You are right it is murky! But I am sure the DEA wants to know everything about everybody, if they don’t already. If Chavez is not involved then why does he call attention to himself in this case?

  9. jeffry house Says:

    I doubt that it is well-known internationally that the President of the Bolivaran Businessmen’s Association and his family members are all in jail for drug smuggling.

    Drug kingpins often claim to have vast info and proof of corruption, but this seldom amounts to much; their corrupt counterparts use cut-outs, middlemen, etc, so that we never see proof that Rangel Silva did anything, only his brother-in-law, or close friend, did, thus preserving deniability.

    If he goes to the US, they will have plenty on him. I work as a defence lawyer, and do extradition cases in which the US government seeks to extradite from Canada. If the case is big enough, we are now seeing searches and seizures of the accused’s computers, done by remote control
    from DEA offices in the US. These are authorized by US search warrants; I would be surprised if the brothers Makled have not had a visit long since.

    Maybe their computer protection hardware has stymied the DEA, though?

  10. Se cierra el cerco... Says:

    Indeed, HCF is nervous:

    1) I doubt HCF himself had direct contact with Makled but Rangel Silva, Carvajal and Rodiguez Chacín had direct contact with all sorts of international criminals and terrorists, following HCF orders.

    2) Rangel Silva, Carvajal and Rodiguez Chacín, being the experienced dark operators they are, must have secret proof of the orders given to them by HCF. Probably this type: “Make everything you need to do in order to give YYY to our friend ZZZ. Do not tell me the details but inform me as soon as it is done”.

    3) Makled kept proof of his contacts with HCF’s operators.

    4) Thus, if eventually Makled opens his information, HCF must bet the ranch on Rangel Silva, Carvajal and Rodiguez Chacín or even disappear them. They are the missing link between HCF and some of the worst international crimes.

    5) The most logical outcome on the Makled affair is that he is kept incarcerated in Colombia. The judiciary can claim its jurisdiction and make an independent public stance before the US and at the same time play friends with Venezuela. On the other hand, being in Colombia he can easily be milked for information by the DEA/DIJIN.

  11. Bois Says:

    As a long time reader of this blog and an outsider looking in – it seems the walls are slowly closing in on President Chavez.
    I do not think he realizes his space to maneuver is becoming limited and eventually will find himself in a very tight corner unable to escape.

  12. island canuck Says:

    I think Santos is playing with Chavez.

    Like you say he’s waiting for his supreme clownishness to make another mistake.
    He can then say he tried his best to cooperate with him & he will be on the high road & Chavez will look like the idiot he is – again.

    I don’t believe he will send Makled back to Venezuela.

  13. Ira Says:

    Miguel, I think you have more confidence and optimism than I do:

    Despite the independence of Colombia’s judiciary, Santos’s wishes will still be known to them, and even though Santos won’t have to beat them over the head and won’t order them to do what he wants, his wishes could still very well prevail:

    Under what criteria does the judiciary work to decide WHERE to extradite someone, if two nations are requesting extradition? It’s basically a coin toss, so in the end, it becomes political.

    I am extremely nervous about what Santos’s views are on this extradition:

    Are his friendly overtures toward Chavez actually sincere, which would be naive? Or is Santos just paying lip service, waiting for Chavez to step in the dung again and hang himself?

    More important–will he be sent to Venezuela, just to prove that he’s not the Gringo’s puppet?

  14. Roberto N Says:

    You have it backwards, JFE, they got the Urea monopoly and other “legal” businesses with proceeds from the trafficking.

    Folks trafficking in such large quantities need large legal operations to mask their ongoing criminal activity.

  15. JFE Says:

    What I can’t get is the greed of thiese people. They make milliions with the appointments that they receive and with the urea’s state sponsored monopoly, and yet they want more and keep getting into much more illegal activities.

    There was one part that was not clear to me. At the beginning you speak of “the 3 brothers” when refering to the Makled brothers. But later you speak of
    “three of the brothers were jailed, while a fourth”. So how many brothers are in total?

  16. Johnny Says:

    IT LOOKS VERY CLEAR TO ME! TERRORISM AND DRUGS ARE TWO ITEMS ON ANY BRIGHT PERSONS NO NO LIST. THEY WERE NOT TOO BRIGHT. AND NOW THE CHICKENS (VULTURES) ARE COMING HOME TO ROOST.


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