Will Chile’s crisis with Venezuela lead to a diplomatic rupture? | Policy

Venezuelan-Chilean relations are going through a crisis that does not suggest a breakthrough, during which the official authorities exchanged provocative statements from both sides, and ended with Chilean President Gabriel Boric summoning his country’s ambassador to Venezuela, Jaime Gazamori, for consultations last Thursday.

On the other hand, the positions and statements of the Venezuelan side regarding the issues of disagreement remain stubborn, despite the approaching date of the presidential elections, the increasing tone of international accusations against President Maduro’s regime of dictatorship, and the continued criticism of him by yesterday’s regional allies.

Critical situation

We can summarize the features of the recent crisis between the governments of Venezuela and Chile in three events, which gained international media momentum and made the position of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro more critical regarding the issue of human rights and the integrity of elections in his country.

The third event, which is the most sensitive, relates to the crime of liquidating the former lieutenant in the Venezuelan security, the young oppositionist Ronald Ojeda, who took refuge in Chile since 2018, after he was accused of “betraying the country,” according to the Venezuelan judiciary.

Last Thursday, the Chilean Public Prosecution published a bold statement in which it stated that the crime of kidnapping Ojeda on its territory on February 21, and the discovery of his liquidation in the presence of his body ten days after that event, was planned from within Venezuela, and that “the political motive is The line of investigation that is most worthy of follow-up if we rely on the available data,” according to statements by Prosecutor Hector Barras.

These statements are, in fact, the first of their kind, in which the Chilean Public Prosecutor’s Office points the finger of blame for the crime of political liquidation against the government of Venezuela, with such frankness and boldness, despite the accusations of many governments from neighboring countries, the regime of the late leader Chavez and his successor Maduro, of pursuing opponents abroad. .

In line with the Public Prosecutor’s statements, the Chilean government supported the findings reached by the Public Prosecution, and Chilean President Gabriel Boric sent a direct message to the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan judiciary, requesting full cooperation with the Chilean judiciary, by arresting two possible Venezuelans involved in the crime of liquidating the oppositionist Ojeda. They entered Chile illegally and returned to Venezuela in the same way.

He added that the Venezuelan judiciary is “obligated” to extradite them to Chile, to complete investigations into them. Note that Chilean security was able to arrest only one of the four involved in the crime, which was carried out using the method of hired killers.

Drug dealing

The Chilean Minister of the Interior, Carolina Toha, reacting to the statements of the Attorney General, said: It will demand that Venezuela comply with an extradition treaty, in force since 1962 between the two countries. However, it expressed its fears that Venezuela would not comply with this, given the sensitivity of the issue and its political nature. It also pointed out the importance of the step at the international level. Because it represents an opportunity for President Maduro’s regime and his country’s judiciary to express their respect for the law.

The second event that increased Venezuelan-Chilean relations was related to the conflicting positions of the authorities of the two countries regarding the organized crime and drug trafficking gang nicknamed the “Aragua Train Cartel” and attributed to Venezuela, as the volume of complaints by the Chilean authorities regarding crimes attributed to the aforementioned Venezuelan gang, on Chilean territory, doubled. The Venezuelan side denied the gang’s affiliation to Venezuela, despite the gang’s widespread fame in the region, similar to the gangs of Ecuador and Peru, which operate under the supervision of the well-known Colombian and Mexican gangs.

However, the step that prompted the President of Chile to summon his country’s ambassador to Caracas for consultations came in the wake of statements by Venezuelan Minister Ivan Gil, who confirmed last week that the “Aragua Train Cartel” is a fiction created by the international media to try to brand Venezuela with organized crime. The President of Chile considered this an insult to the victims of this organized gang. He described the minister’s statements as irresponsible and worrying, adding that they showed a lack of commitment by the Venezuelan side to the standards of international cooperation regarding cross-border security.

Aside from the official positions of the two countries on this matter, security studies in the South American region confirm that the “Aragua Train Cartel” has witnessed an unprecedented expansion in Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Chile, with these countries receiving waves of asylum from millions of Venezuelans, after the 2019 political crisis in their country, The gang took advantage of that situation. To deploy its members in the region to carry out “hired killings,” armed robbery, drug trafficking, and human smuggling in more than one country, in order to compete with other gangs and gain the trust of the Mexican gangs supervising the region.

Brave stances

The third event is the renewed accusations by the Chilean side against the Venezuelan of not adhering to the minimum level of security cooperation in the field of cross-border crime, with the killing of Lieutenant Emmanuel Sanchez Soto of the Chilean police, last Wednesday, at the hands of a gang, one of whom is a Venezuelan, who obtained an expulsion order a year ago. 2020, and he was not deported along with dozens of other criminals. Due to the procrastination of the Venezuelan side, according to information provided by the Chilean Deputy Minister of the Interior, Manuel Monsalve. The statements of the President of Chile and the Deputy Minister of the Interior hinted that the refusal to deport was taking place on orders from the top of the Venezuelan decision-making hierarchy, in reference to President Maduro.

On the other hand, the Venezuelan Public Prosecutor, Tariq William Saab, believes that the refusal to extradite some of those involved in crimes in South American countries is primarily a judicial decision, and is subject to complex conditions that have nothing to do with the political system. This is not a strange testimony for Saab, whom the Venezuelan opposition describes as the “legal polisher” for President Maduro and his allies.

This crisis comes at a sensitive time for President Maduro, as criticism of him and his regime continues, from leftist leaders and regimes who expressed their support for the regime of his predecessor, the late leader Chavez, but they have recently begun to distance their positions from the current President Maduro, especially with regard to the human rights file and his dealings with the opposition. . These are courageous positions that are credited to the presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and the former president of Paraguay, José Mujica, who expressed their dissatisfaction with President Maduro’s preparations for an upcoming electoral period, starting at the beginning of next year, thus extending rule in the hands of the current ruling party from 1999 to 2031. Even if Venezuelans boycotted the elections.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

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