By Beatrice E. Rangel
Through a Spanish newspaper the world learned that a trusted head of the security services for the President of the Venezuelan Congress had defected to the US, apparently with loads of damaging information about the drug trafficking deals entertained by that Congressional head, Diosdado Cabello.
Leamsy Salazar, a navy captain who had headed the inner security ring for the late president Hugo Chavez was transferred to work for Cabello after Chavez's death. Thereafter, Salazar became a most trusted aide to Cabello and things seemed to be working out for the boss and the aide up and until a very attractive blonde crossed Cabello’s destiny quite clearly attracted by much more than his blue sparkling eyes.
Indeed Miss Gigi Zanchetta -- like most Venezuelans -- was desperately pursuing the hard-to-come-by greenbacks and found in her flirtations with Cabello a sure source of supply. Like most betrayed lovers who have been made a chump, Cabello searched for the missing $120,000 in his inner circle. Salazar was supposed to guarantee that Cabello would not share the lot with most Venezuelans that are constantly robbed in their homes. Thus Salazar was to be punished for allowing his boss to go through such a disgusting experience.
Salazar then decided it might be a good time to head for safer grounds where his life would be safe from the ides of March. The US would certainly be a shield to protect him from Cabello’s fallout of love and money. And there, Salazar decided to join what has now become an operatic chorus of singing Venezuelan birds.
Prior to Salazar, the US law enforcement agencies listened to Walid Makled who was arrested by the Colombian police in 2009 while laundering money from drug traffic. Prior to consenting to the extradition request presented to the Colombian Supreme Court by the government of Venezuela, the Colombian government allowed US law enforcement agencies to question Makled. Depending on what his expectations about the return to Venezuela had been, Makled sang an aria or a simple chorus line. In any event he did not remain silent.
Then came former Judge Eladio Aponte who fled first to Costa Rica in 2012 when he refused to change sentences against drug kingpins. Aponte has been singing for many years now and we assume that the lyrics must have been interesting for the US law enforcement agencies.
Whether this latest drama will result a federal case in the U.S. could depend on the oil thermometer. Should oil prices continue to fall, then the U.S. will perhaps feel more compelled to take action. And we might enjoy a full libretto.
Another piece in this puzzle, of course, is Cuba. Should normalization progress, the U.S. might convince the Cubans that the chums of youth are not the best company for the rising stars. And perhaps Cuba will reign the Bolivarians in.
But today the only thing that seems certain is that economic collapse will continue to progress in Venezuela as supermarket shelves continue to be empty and Venezuela's allies in Latin America can do nothing to reverse the trend. Indeed, all over the world food is produced by private businesses that do not sell if not paid. Perhaps the only means of partially replenishing the shelves would have been to agree to sell the Guyana Development Corporation to China at the bargain price of $20 billion. But, alas, there was no agreement and now no one would even entertain the idea of entering into a deal with a collapsing country. Should collapse occur, then the U.S., Cuba and the whole hemisphere will need to confront a very ugly internal feud that will remind the region that the missing ingredient in Venezuela is the rule of law. This could then finally be the right regional libretto.Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet seriesBeatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters
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Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
Venezuela: A Deepening Political & Economic Quagmire? by Latin American Herald Tribune