UPDATED AGAIN. Scant reports yet, little official confirmation but it seems that indeed Hugo Carvajal has been arrested in Aruba while he was awaiting his diplomatic placet from Dutch authorities to become Venezuela's consul in Aruba. This, my friends, can be a turning moment!
Hugo Carvajal was military intelligence chief of Hugo Chavez for between 2004 and 2009. This was the period in which Chavez established his social dependency system and in which he made sure the Venezuelan army would become corrupt to the bones, compromised enough with crime that it could not easily turn against him again. Not surprisingly it was during that period that Venezuela became a full fledged narco state by becoming the main transit point for drugs, at a time where Uribe put a cramp in the FARC drug trafficking style. As a reward for his efforts the US of A placed him in its first short list of narco-criminals from Venezuela to be arrested at the first opportunity (along other celebrities like current Guarico governor, Rodriguez Chacin, nicely documented on video for his very friendly relationship with the Colombian FARC).
Now, if I were Carvajal, I would be careful about leaving the country; though admittedly my life could be in danger inside the country in case some of the drug deals I sponsored soured some. But the thugs that overlord Venezuela have quite a lot of chutzpah, thinking that if they can browbeat their way inside Venezuela, they can get away with it outside also, in particular in a little island that they think survives only out of Venezuelan tourism. Bad move. Aruba is still under the Netherlands security system and the Dutch are getting tired of Venezuela antics and blackmail (and some of its friends like, you know, Russia). Besides, Venezuelan tourism is not the best quality tourism for Aruba anyway: loud, vulgar and not anymore the big spenders they used to be. So Carvajal may or may not have been arrested last night (before his diplomatic immunity would kick in) and he may or may not have already been extradited to the US of A. These doubts are delightfully exposed in a papiamento post, that you can get if you read Spanish well enough.
If indeed Carvajal is sent to the US, beyond diplomatic implications that this will entail, the local consequences will be high. There are possibly dozens and dozens of chavista high officials with dossiers under investigation and the reality for them has suddenly changed. Never mind that if Carvajal is indeed sent to the US, he may add a lot to these dossiers.
Even if Carvajal avoids, for now, his fate in court under the pretense of his diplomatic passport, that only will mean that the intentional police departments will be bolder next time, and may directly kidnap such criminals as soon as they set foot outside of Venezuela. Tourist destination for Venezuelan corrupt and murderous officials will be limited to countries like Syria, Cuba or Russia, if they can make it without any stopover...
What will the bolivarian nomenklatura do? Seek a deal for forgiveness in exchange of surrendering power? Or lock themselves up inside fortress Venezuela? Definition time ahead, pré carré formation time.
PS: Alek Boyd, his usual speed benefiting us, just posted a summary of the descent of Venezuela into narco-state status. It is in Spanish, I hope he finds time to translate it.
The Venezuelan government has confirmed the arrest of Carvajal through a strongly worded foreign ministry communique that threatens directly the Netherlands with sanctions if Carvajal is not released immediately. Nice touch! Just when The Netherlands are particularly upset with all of these goons....
Well, well... The papiamento newspaper in Aruba confirms that Carvajal DID NOT have diplomatic immunity because he was not agreed yet by the Dutch. He was exercising his consul functions anyway but the placet was not coming because, we may assume, his vitae was not pleasing. I think that the Dutch delayed the placet in the vain hope that Carvajal would be withdrawn. But thugs do not take to hints like that. The Dutch got tired, and voila!
Why was Carvajal so stubbornly holding to his consul post in Aruba? Gossip emeritus Bocaranda tells us that when he was caught he carried 20,000 USD cash (what the hell is doing a consul with 20,000 cash? what could he possibly need that for? this is illegal in Venezuela), three passports with different identities (AGAIN, a consul?), something like 6 cel phones from three companies (I can understand, say, 3 since many Venezuelans do carry 1 cel from each company).
Two working hypotheses: Carvajal was dabbling in money laundering since Aruba is considered a fiscal paradise. The Dutch government got tired of the arrogance and caved in the US wises. Or he was actually sent there in a set trap from folks back in Venezuela. A third possibility is that he may have engineered that to pretend that he was arrested rather than escaped to US safety.
I think those people have become reckless and that Carvajal thought he could behave in Aruba as he pleased. So I am going for the trap set by people wanting to get rid of him inside Venezuela. The question then would become who? The last hypothesis can easily be verified: is all of Carvajal family out of Venezuela, out of reach?