Maduro Took Gunships and Sanctions to a Diplomatic Fight

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Why did Nicolas Maduro feel he could militarily threaten Aruba for its arrest of General Carvajal?

As we've posted before -- because he knew he can get away with it.

How did Maduro know the Dutch would cave under the threat of economic pressure?

Because he knows they are fickle -- Putin has taught him that.

One thing is for sure -- Maduro's aggressive actions show just how concerned he was about the information regarding his government's ties to narcotics trafficking, FARC, Cuba, Iran, terrorist groups, etc., that General Carvajal could reveal to the U.S. authorities.

As for U.S. diplomats, they did the best they could -- diplomatically.

However, they severely miscalculated the extent to which Maduro would go to recover Carvajal.

They took a knife to a gun fight.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Aruba Says Venezuela Raised Military Pressure on It

The Netherlands' release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, a top Aruban official said Monday.

Aruba's chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela's former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.

Mr. Blanken said Venezuela's government also had threatened to sever Venezuela's vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela's state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao's refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.

Aruban officials on Wednesday detained Mr. Carvajal, known as "el Pollo," or "the Chicken," but then released him on Sunday night after the Dutch government ruled that he was protected by diplomatic immunity. The decision overruled Aruban officials who had decided that the Venezuelan had no immunity because he hadn't been confirmed as consul by the Dutch government.

Much to the dismay of U.S. officials, Mr. Carvajal flew to Caracas on Sunday night to a hero's welcome from President Nicolás Maduro.

"We are disturbed by credible reports that have come to us indicating the Venezuelan government threatened the governments of Aruba, the Netherlands and others to obtain this result," said Susan Bridenstine, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman. "This is not the way law enforcement matters should be handled."

She said the Dutch decided to release Mr. Carvajal "on the basis of claims of immunity that are beyond established international norms."

Manhattan federal prosecutors, who unsealed an indictment against Mr. Carvajal late Thursday, were blindsided by his release, said a person familiar with the matter. Prosecutors wouldn't have filed a provisional arrest warrant without believing there was a high likelihood of successfully extraditing Mr. Carvajal, the person said.

Officials in the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office feel the Dutch caved in to pressure from Venezuela, the person said. The officials fear the release could hurt the office's relationship with its network of confidential sources, who could be reluctant to share further information if it doesn't lead to results, the person said.