Alek goes all-out on Santos

Fellow blogger Alek Boyd has an article over on The Commentator about Colombia-Venezuela relations. It’s a provocative read – the title alone should tell you that.

I get where Alek is coming from, but ultimately, Santos has made a choice to favor the well-being of his country’s economy over a quixotic quest to bring Hugo Chávez to justice. Can we really blame him? And if we were in his position, would we do any differently?

22 thoughts on “Alek goes all-out on Santos

  1. The Boyd article is to my mind unremarkable except for the accompanying picture of Chvez holding Santos’s hand and declaring him “best friend”. The hand Chvez is grasping has a wrist with two charming ladies’ bracelets on it. Perhaps that’s Hugo’s REAL
    best friend – and Santos’s smile says that his eyesight is better than Boyds.





  2. Juan, thanks for linking.

    As I have written in the article, I do get Uribe’s and Santos’ position. They were elected, ultimately, to govern Colombia, not Venezuela. As I said to Uribe’s VP here in London, if Colombia wishes to engage Chavez and get the most out if it, that’s something we can all deal with. If Colombia pushes the FARC across its border, with the help of the gringos, that’s also fine. I Colombia’s government uses the intel it has on Chavez / FARC to leverage its position, that, I can also understand.

    What I find unacceptable is for Colombia to keep that intel private. Mind you, if Colombia does not want to pick a fight with the $2 trillion dictator for commercial or political reasons, that’s their prerogative, but by keeping those cards close to their chest, Colombia is effectively impeding that other parties act on that intel. Colombia knows what goes on in Venezuela, as a matter of fact, I am on the record saying that both Uribe and Santos have got Chavez by the balls. Those meetings, smiles and photo ops, mind you we all know that behind close doors Uribe and Santos bith-slapped Chavez into accepting whatever they demanded. But by keeping mum, they are, effectively, accomplices of what goes on. And the most egregious acts on the cachacos part, IMO, are: 1) to claim that they’re doing their utmost to combat FARC, and eradicate drug trafficking, when they *know* what’s going on across the border and don’t denounce it properly; 2) to say that all they’re doing is trying to bring peace to Colombia and to protect its citizens, when the FARC, with Chavez leniency, operates from its Venezuelan / Ecuadorian safe camps but continue assaulting and causing misery to *Colombians in Colombia*.

    I said to VP Santos Calderon “make the intel public. You don’t want deal with that hot potato? That’s fine, let us, and other interested parties deal, with it.” He smiled, and walked away… So perhaps is fitting to remind Colombians of UN resolutions, unanimously approved, that have criminalised Chavez’s sort of behaviour. This issue, however the cachacos want to spin it, goes well beyond a local Colombian context. Drug trafficking, of the scale FARC / Makled / chavistas are involved, can not be dealt with as if it were an internal issue that the Colombian government could solve with their policy. It is an issue that affects millions of people, in many countries, worldwide. It is an issue that has a huge human and financial cost, worldwide. It is, as a matter of fact, a cross-border problem that requires the involvement of many, not the hypocritical leverage of a couple of cachacos espabilaos and their supporters.


    • Well, that’s the thing, if they keep the intel private, they can leverage that with Chávez to get what they want. It sucks for us, but it’s real-politik.

      However, criticism is totally warranted, so more power to you.


      • Real politik it is Juan, no doubt, real politik trumping every current international convention on terrorism, drug trafficking, security and human rights. So more power to the cachacos, right?

        Colombia has got to be one of the quintessential examples of “progress, at what price?”


    • Nonsense. To look for Chavez’s accomplices there is no need to look further than to the millions who still vote for him. To hold the colombian (or brazilian, or american, or spanish, etc) government responsible is just another way for venezuelans to abdicate responsability and wish chavismo away like a bad dream.


      • Nonsense. I am not wishing, nor implying, that Colombians, American, Spanish or any other, get rid of Chavez, and I’m most certainly not abdicating responsibility. On the contrary, because I would like for us to deal with Chavez as any responsible nation would, I would like to have the intel the Colombians have, I would love for us to be able to build an armour-plated case against him, and see the MoFo rotting in jail for the rest of his maldita existencia. It wouldn’t be too bad actually if he had to pick up soap in Venezuelan jails either.

        Re Colombia withholding intel: according to international conventions, what any responsible government should do when in presence of another that supports terrorism and drug trafficking activities is to denounce it properly, not to go smile and deal with it, as if nothing was happening, as if the human cost of it were acceptable. There’s a bloody war going on in Mexico, for starters, that could very well be diffused if gangs there where to lose an important portion of Colombian supply.

        Again, how many deaths, just in Mexico, because of narco wars? Whichever way apologists of Colombian policy want to slice this, it is unacceptable, by any standard. As stated before, it is an issue that long ago grew out of the mere Colombo-Venezuelan context.


  3. Only someone living in London and so far from Venezuela and Colombia could not know that the real culprits of drug trafficking are the US military and their contractors – plus the CIA doing what they did very well in the Iran-Contea affair and the huge increase of poppy growing in Afghanistan after routing the Taliban. C´mon, Alex, get back on track.


    • Oh come now Arturo, cocaine doesn’t come from poppies, you silly goose.

      Why not talk about the top secret fields surrounding Bogota, hidden with DARPA optic camouflage generators, and guarded by the New Studies and Observations Group armed with nanosuits?

      It’s quite well known to people living in Colombia and Venezuela. And Bolivia for that matter.


      • Learn to read the comment before making idiotic statements. Where in my commentary do I mention “cocaine”.


        • Oh you! What a silly goose.

          The illegal drug trade in South America is mostly about cocaine, opium poppy isn’t nearly as prolific as coca leaf as they might say here. What might apply in Golden Asia simply can’t be generalized to mean “South America” as well. Different set ups, different people, different system.

          If you cannot tell one section of the CIA from another of the NSA, that’s no skin off your back, but please don’t be too dumb.


    • So…the U.S. grows the coke, funds the FARC and puts the money in Chavez’s pocket? WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL THIS TIME?!?!


  4. Governments often “have one another by the balls.” Surreptitious audio and visual surveillance as well as witness declarations are available to Santos, to Chavez, and to others such as the US government. Typically though, it doesn’t get released.

    Santos may have Chavez by the balls, and could make a case before the International Criminal Court. However, numerous massacres of civilians in Colombia, for example, Barrancabermeja to name just one, radiate deep into the Colombian state and military and have potential implications for important state actors there.

    Maybe Chavez has zero intel on all this. Maybe they don’t routinely listen to Colombian radio traffic, both military and “paramilitary”. But maybe the two sides have an unofficial ceasefire with respect to unloading intelligence about one another on the public.

    I can’t see that Santos has any obligation to release his evidence agaionst Chavez, or vice versa.


    • In fact, there is obligation:

      Under terms of the text, the Council decided that all States should prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, as well as criminalize the wilful provision or collection of funds for such acts. The funds, financial assets and economic resources of those who commit or attempt to commit terrorist acts or participate in or facilitate the commission of terrorist acts and of persons and entities acting on behalf of terrorists should also be frozen without delay.

      The Council also decided that States should prohibit their nationals or persons or entities in their territories from making funds, financial assets, economic resources, financial or other related services available to persons who commit or attempt to commit, facilitate or participate in the commission of terrorist acts. States should also refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts; take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts; deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, commit terrorist acts and provide safe havens as well.

      By other terms, the Council decided that all States should prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes against other countries and their citizens. States should also ensure that anyone who has participated in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice. They should also ensure that terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations and that the seriousness of such acts is duly reflected in sentences served….



  5. This sentence says it all : “Failure to act upon knowledge of crimes being committed is the very definition of accomplice”

    Colombians are being kidnapped, displaced and murdered by FARC. However Santos is choosing business over justice…I wonder if Colombians agree with his choice.


    • Actually, that is quite a totalitarian definition of “accomplice”. In the Anglo-American sphere of law, that is certainly not the definition used.

      If I see a robbery, and fail to act to stop it–maybe I am afraid the robber has a gun–or maybe I am old and infirm–I may be a coward, but am I legally responsible and subject to prison as an accomplice to the robbery?

      Don’t get carried away by nice-sounding rhetoric.


      • If you hold a position like let’s say President of Colombia, you are not only legally responsible to stop it, but mandated to stop it.


  6. There is a tendency amongst Venezuelans to hold out a hope that the cavalry is going to arrive from outside to save them from Chavez. Well, forget it… It ain’t happening. Whether from the U.S., the U.N., Spain, the IACHR, or Colombia, there is no one out there, who likes (or, more importantly, sufficiently trusts) the Venezuelans to stick their necks out in Venezuela’s defense.

    The case of Ramos Allup of AD and his pestering of U.S. Embassy officials for money, is a case in point. So, don’t look for outsiders to blame. Venezuelans are just going to have to do their own dirty work for once. Suck it up…


    • Roy, I am not arguing otherwise, I don’t suffer that ‘tendency’.

      As per doing our dirty work, for once, I suggest you refrain from making such stupid comments. Or have you got evidence from the historical record where other nations have sorted out our problems?


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