Personally, I think that everything President Santos is doing….from the decision in the excellent AP report below to the new best friending of Chávez to the deferring of the military base agreement to the “Obama has forgotten us” statements of last weekend…. is all designed to get The USA onside about a Free Trade Agreement. I mean everything he’s doing points to Colombia putting a different sort of subtle pressure on the US. Before with Uribe it was all “We’re the bestest of very best friends (don’t look at the human rights record) PLEEEASE can you sign the FTA?“, but with Santos it’s more like, “Look gringos, if you want a good friend in South America we’ll play ball with you, but hey, I have different options here too. So, what about it, guys?“.
I digress, this post was started to get you to read this top report by Fabiola Sanchez and Frank Bajak of AP. Here’s how it starts and you surely have to click through to read the rest, because it just gets better:
Reputed Venezuelan drug kingpin’s tell-all threats: A reprieve from US extradition?
VALENCIA, Venezuela – By the time the White House designated him an international drug kingpin in May 2009, Walid Makled had risen comet-like from petty smuggler to port mogul and airline owner through the good graces of Venezuelan power brokers.So closely was the Syrian immigrant’s son tied to what Washington has deemed a narcotics-trafficking cabal of military men loyal to leftist President Hugo Chavez that arrest last year in a Colombian border city had U.S and Colombian drug agents beaming.He would be extradited to the United States to stand trial for shipping an estimated 10 tons a month of cocaine to North America and Europe, Colombia’s national police director Oscar Naranjo announced. Except now, it appears, he won’t be.Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos decided that Makled should instead go to Venezuela, where he faces drug trafficking and murder charges. Privately, U.S. and Colombian officials say the decision could mean forfeiting the opportunity to build criminal cases against some of Venezuela’s most powerful figures.