The actions of the Colombian government are crucial in all this. Alvaro Uribe, Colombia’s president between 2002 and 2010, took a hard line against FARC and Chavez, but his successor, President Juan Manuel Santos, has not. One of President Santos’ first acts in office, in fact, was to meet Chavez in Santa Marta, after which he declared that they were best friends. President Santos was, of course, trying to get Chavez to pay Colombian companies the billions of dollars that his government owes them. But so far, Santos’ soft line hasn’t borne results — the terrorism has continued, as has the drug trafficking. Santos may come to regret his “friendship” with Chavez.
For his part, by promoting FARC’s partners and collaborators, Hugo Chavez is not only openly flaunting binding anti-terrorism resolutions from the United Nations Security Council, he is defying and making a mockery out of international agreements, while cloaking with a veneer of democratic legitimacy those engaged in protecting and assisting terrorists. Whether or not Chavez dies soon from the cancer that is ravaging his body, drug shipments from Venezuela will continue unabated. Designated kingpins have now been elected to public office, and will remain in power for another four years, at least. The kingpins will outlast Colombia’s President Santos. This is a worrying development, for it signals that OFAC designations and “friendships” carry little weight, and in practice do not hinder drug trafficking and terrorist activities.
Alek Boyd is the founder of Vcrisis.com, a blog about Venezuelan politics. In 2006, Alek became the first blogger ever to shadow a Venezuelan presidential candidate. Follow him on Twitter @alekboyd or email him at [email protected].