For years, Chavez’ Government has been protecting members of Basque Spanish separatist group ETA. In reality, this is a long tradition by which Venezuela allowed some ETA members to come to Venezuela, the difference is that under Chavez these people have been hired by the Government and used in many activities, some legal, others not so legal.
Over the years, there have been many accusations, but the Chavez Government had a written party line for it: Just because a renegade terrorists says so it is not necessarily so.
Except that in most cases denounced in Spain, one name appears over and over: Arturo Cubillas. Cubillas was deported in the late eighties to Venezuela, married a Venezuelan of Basque origins. But rather than lead a quiet life, he continued his ETA activities, linking up with the FARC, according to Reyes’ computer files. Cubillas also managed to get himself hired as an aide to the then Minister of Agriculture Elias Jaua, now the Vice-President of Venezuela.
But through it all, Zapatero’s sympathies for Chavez and his socialist pseud-revolution, held off the cries of the Spanish opposition for a formal complaint.
Hot from having a Spanish Deputy formally kicked out as an electoral observer, even if the decision was turned over, and scandalized with the manipulation of the Sept. 26th. election, Spain’s Partido Popular came back home after the election ready to establish a zero tolerance policy for Hugo.
And no sooner had they said September 26th. on the way back, when a Spanish Judge revealed that two ETA terrorists arrested last week had testified that they were given weapons training in Venezuela and specifically with Arturo Cubillas in Venezuela during the summer of 2008. This was not the first time a JUdge asked Venezuela for information on Cubillas’ activities, except that it was almost met with either silence or denial.
And Chavez appealed to the textbook explanation: “It’s a broken record…it’s a conspiracy…it’s a farce” easily dismissing the news and the request from the Judge.
Except the Spanish National Audience sent a formal request against and vouched for the “total credibility” of the witnesses, at the same time that a TV station showed video of the training taking place in Venezuela. And to make matters even worse, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Spain, former Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez, held a press conference not only denying any link with ETA, but suggesting that the two ETA players were tortured in Spain to say this and saying he had serious doubts about their statements. Rodriguez, the same guy who once “knew a false witness was telling the truth because he looked him in the eye” and made a farce of Justice in Venezuela while being the General Prosecutor, also dismissed the fact that Cubillas was a “seventh or eighth” category official within the Venezuelan Government.
This truly irked the the Partido Popular who requested the Spanish Government elevate a formal protest to the Venezuelan Government. They were particularly irked by Rodriguez’ suggestion and undiplomatic statements about Spain and the Spanish Government.
That’s what happens when you have bumbling fools as diplomats to reward them for their loyalty. Unfortunately, that’s the story of Chavez’ Government, incompetent fools everywhere.
And today, the Spanish Government put the screws on Venezuela, asking Rodriguez and Foreign Minister Maduro to please look into the matter. And the charges and the pissed-off Spaniards forced the Venezuelan Government to investigate.
Easy. These charges are very serious. This is not linking up to FARC, this a middle level Government official training terrorists in Venezuela, now, as recent as 2008. But more importantly, ideology and business have always been Zapatero’s justification for cozying up to Hugo Chavez.
But now there are hints that Chavez’ hold on power may end in 2012 and Chavez is nationalizing a Spanish concern Agroisleña, which I am sure has Zapatero up in arms, but he is likely trying to learn as much as possible about the expropriation before he launches his next formal complaint.
For Chavez, backing down is novel vis a vis the Spaniards. There is a Venezuelan saying: “Chivo que se devuelve se esnuca” (A goat that turns around breaks its neck off), which loosely translated means “What is done is done”.
But this is a new reality for Hugo. Some see the possibility of his reign ending and that changes the rules of the game. He nationalized Agroisleña, but that has an impact on the Spaniards. He denies the ETA connection, but Cubillas is right there at a middle level (not seventh category, more like third or fourth) position in his VP”s former Ministry.
It stinks to high heaven…but Chavez has always thought he could do things and have nobody notice. But it is beginning to back fire.
What will he do? Extradite Cubillas? Revert Agroisleña’s nationalization?
Chivo que se devuelve se esnuca…