Christian Science Monitor
Data Driven Journalism (EJC)
Economist Intelligence Unit
La Prensa (Panama)
National (Abu Dhabi)
New York Times
Radio France Internationale
Times of London
Contact (PGP Key)
Venezuela nabs Colombian kingpin 'Loco' Barrera|
Sept. 19, 2012 — Caracas, Venezuela
Published by GlobalPost
The Venezuelan government Wednesday morning lauded its capture of Daniel Barrera, a Colombian drug trafficker known as “El Loco,” in San Cristobal on its side of the dense jungle border with Colombia.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos described Barrera on Tuesday as “last of the great capos.” Security think tank InSight Crime called him Colombia’s closest modern-day equivalent to infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.
The capture again demonstrates a warming of relations between Venezuela and Colombia after years of tension. With the involvement of both the American CIA and British MI6 security services, the news also points toward Venezuela working at least tacitly with organizations that President Hugo Chavez has for years denounced as imperialist agents.
The operation to capture Barrera took 45 days and involved 14 Venezuelan intelligence teams working across three Venezuelan states as well as the capital, according to Venezuela’s Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami.
“When the US publishes information … attacking Venezuela as a country that does not collaborate in this fight, we can respond with dignity,” El Aissami said Wednesday. “Venezuela is not a colony of the US.”
Washington repeatedly has accused the Chavez administration of slacking in the drug war. "The United States has concluded that Venezuela demonstrably failed to meet its international counternarcotics obligations every year since 2005," the State Department says.
Barrera was wanted in Colombia and the US, which together offered a $7.7 million bounty. The Colombian government said Barrera's smuggling ring was able to send 10 tons of cocaine monthly to Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, headed by that country’s modern-day equivalent to Escobar, Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman.
Two other alleged Colombian drug traffickers have been arrested in Venezuela in the past year.
Relations between Colombia and Venezuela have matured considerably over the last couple of years. In 2010, Santos accused Chavez of attempting to assassinate him though later called him his “new best friend.”
The pair are walking a tightrope, however, as they are not natural allies. It was former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s cozying up to the United States that analysts say pushed the two countries apart.
Santos, however, has surprised many in his diplomatic balancing act. He even extradited alleged drug trafficker Walid Makled to Venezuela — to the immense anger of Washington — in April last year, in a show of solidarity with Colombia’s Latin American neighbor.
Wednesday Santos may upset the balance somewhat as he meets in Bogota with Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski. Capriles is due to take on Chavez in Venezuela’s Oct. 7 election, the closest threat yet to the strongman’s 14-year tenure.
Advisers urge deep discount in Venezuelan cryptocurrency offering
Jan. 16, 2018
Dec. 12, 2017
Venezuela money supply up 14 percent in one week, fastest rise on record
Dec. 1, 2017
How a defrocked judge became the chief enforcer for Maduro's Venezuela
Nov. 15, 2017
De cómo un juez destituido se convirtió en el principal artífice judicial del presidente de Venezuela
Nov. 15, 2017
The 'Venezuela Econ' app: Harnessing data to understand a spectacular economic meltdown
Nov. 6, 2017
Venezuela's monthly inflation rises to 34 percent: National Assembly
Sept. 7, 2017
Ousted Venezuelan prosecutor says she fears for her life, will keep fighting
Aug. 10, 2017
Venezuela quells attack on military base, two killed
Aug. 6, 2017
Exclusive: Venezuelan vote data casts doubt on turnout at Sunday poll
Aug. 2, 2017
All eyes on Venezuela military after protests, vote
Aug. 1, 2017
U.S. 'sweetheart' of Venezuela sees worrying signs of authoritarianism
Jul. 29, 2017
Venezuela money supply surges 10 percent in one week, fastest in 25 years
Jul. 29, 2017
Exclusive: At least 123 Venezuelan soldiers detained since protests - documents
Jul. 6, 2017
Venezuela hikes minimum wage 50 percent, effectively down 17 percent
Jul. 2, 2017