(Perez Becerra, right, wearing his reporters uniform)
I find the case of Joaquin Perez Becerra truly fascinating. Seldom have we seen pro-Chavez groups so incensed over an act by their hero and the contradictions on the case are truly fascinating.
Perez Becerra has been involved with the FARC for thirty years. He is now a reporter involved with Annacol, who has been living in Sweden since 1993, where he was accepted as a refugee and later acquired the Swedish nationality. When Rodrigo Granda, the Foreign Minister of the FARC, is captured in Venezuela in 2004, Perez Becerra took over many of his roles, as was later discovered when Raul Reyes’ computers were captured.
Apparently Perez Becerra was coming to an emergency meeting of the FARC leadership and Colombian intelligence warned Venezuelan authorities of his arrival from Frankfurt. Later, the President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos said that he had asked Chavez to capture Becerra, who was flying under an alias. using that magic (or is it Makled-magic?) leverage that Santos seems to have over Chavez lately, was captured as he arrived in Venezuela and faster than you can say Joaquin Perez Becerra, was deported to Colombia, without formal procedures. Even worse, his dual nationality made it questionable whether he could or should be readily extradited to the country where he was being persecuted, which allowed him to qualify in Sweden as a political refugee which led to his new nationality.
Remarkably, Venezuela’s Communist Party and 35 other organizations revealed that Perez Becerra had been a frequent visitor to Venezuela in the past two or three years, denouncing the illegality of Chavez’ action and even leading to street protests over the issue. (Jeez, where have they been all these years!)
Even worse, a Representative from Chavez’ political party PSUV, questions the motivation of the Communist Party, some leaders of which actually suggested that Venezuela can no longer be a safe harbor for revolutionaries. Nice going guys!
Chavez, as usual, assumed his “Yo no fui” attitude (Who, me?) saying that this was Perez Becerra’s fault, knowing that there was a “red alert” warrant for his arrest. Hugo, could it be because he was doing this routinely before you found your “best new friend” Santos? (BTW Hugo, is it true, as reported, that Perez Becerra had a Venezuelan natioanal ID card?)
By now, lots of groups are mad at Hugo. Articles not only in Aporrea, recriminating Hugo for his decision, but even Chavez’ pet project Telesur published an opinion article on the topic.
Sweden demanded an explanation and while Chavez was calling Perez Becerra as being only “accused”, the extreme left parties referred to him as a “journalist”.
Even the FARC complained to Chavez over the extradition.
The problems seems to be that Perez Becerra is associated with the Colombian communist party and is not a Bolivarian figure, thus Communist members have been instructed to complain and explain how Hugo could have been caught doing this, how he was trapped, how he had no choice.
Yadda Yadda Yadda
Hugo does whatever he pleases and right now, Juan Manuel is the man! Santos asks, Hugo complies…
But no Makled yet…go figure