Threats force Aruba to release Venezuela general
After alarms were signaled in Aruba about four Venezuelan warships seen close to the Aruba coast, Minister Frans Timmermans of Foreign Affairs made the decision to release Hugo Carvajal, a repository of Venezuelan then-president Hugo Chávez, and wanted by the U.S. for drug trafficking. Hugo "el Pollo" Carvajal was arrested at the behest of the American government last week, and with permission from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The former chief of Venezuelan military intelligence was detained in Aruba, in relation to cocaine-smuggling to the U.S., as one of the first indictments of top Venezuelan officials resulting from an American probe into drug smuggling. The US Treasury also said that Carvajal protected drug shipments by Colombian Farc rebels, the BBC reports. Minister Timmermans made a u-turn, and granted the ex-General diplomatic immunity. He was appointed by Venezuela as its consul on Aruba. Foreign Affairs insists that this decision came out of "strict judicial consideration of international law." On Aruba, however, opinions are that The Netherlands buckled under the power of the socialist president Maduro. Timmermans' decision came after the coastguard on the Caribbean island spotted at least four venezuelan warships. "That led to an alarm, after which there was negotiation between the local commander of the armed forces and Prime Minister Eman", a spokesperson for the PM confirms. The American State Department acknowledged yesterday that there are trustworthy indications for very strong threats from the Venezuelan government to Aruba and The Netherlands. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said Monday: "We had a plan ready that would have escalated tensions in Latin America", but did not go into detail. Despite granting Carvajal diplomatic immunity, The Netherlands has declared the ex-General as persona non grata, and he may never enter the Kingdom of The Netherlands again. The decision to set Carvajal free does not sit well with Maduro's critics in Venezuela. "I don't understand the reasons or the manner of Holland's decision", said anti-government blogger Miguel Octavio. "It's a victory for crime and power. A defeat for decent Venezuelans." Other critics point to Shell's interests of Shell in Venezuela, a country with the largest oil reserves in the world. Shell has a small joint venture with the PvdSA, the Venezuelan oil company. US officials have not yet made public comments on the case. The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists that negotiations with Venezuela were of the highest diplomatic level after the warships were signaled. "We were ensured that they were returning from training."