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naaman fletcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-29-11 01:11 PM
Original message
Sweden seeks clarity on FARC suspect arrest
The Local: Sweden has demanded an explanation from Venezuela as to why it was not informed about the arrest of one its nationals suspected of links to the FARC rebels or his extradition to Colombia.

"Sweden has asked Venezuela to explain why Swedish authorities were not informed when they arrested a Swedish citizen and extradited him to Colombia," Swedish foreign ministry spokesman Teo Zetterman told AFP, adding a diplomatic note had been sent Tuesday.

"We have not yet received an answer," he said.

Colombian-born Joaquin Perez Becerra, 55, who reportedly came to Sweden nearly 20 years ago as a political refugee, was arrested upon his arrival in Venezuela on Saturday on suspicion he was a member of the Marxist rebel group FARC.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-29-11 10:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Here's a venezuelanalysis article on it--bad news for Chavez, the Left up in arms
And for the RWers who keep saying that is controlled by Chavez, they ought to read this.


Deportation of Alternative Journalist Becerra Causes Protest in Venezuela


Colombia-Venezuela Relations

Mrida, April 29th 2011 ( Over the course of this week, many in the Venezuelan and international left have condemned the Venezuelan governments detention and deportation of independent media activist Joaqun Prez Becerra a Colombian-born media activist granted political asylum by Sweden in 2000.

On Monday, as demonstrators gathered to protest Becerras illegal detention at the Caracas headquarters of Venezuelas Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), the Venezuelan government was already in the process of deporting Becerra to Colombia without granting him access to legal counsel or representatives of the Swedish embassy in Caracas. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry has defended its decision.

The Becerra Case

In what is now being widely referred to as the Becerra Case by leftist social movements and political parties in Venezuela and abroad, the detention and deportation of Joaqun Prez Becerra director of The New Colombia News Agency (ANNCOL) and a source of re-published communiqus of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) has caused unrest among many of Venezuelan President Hugo Chvezs most staunch supporters.

While some protests against Becerras deportation have been held in downtown Caracas this week, a demonstration on Thursday outside of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry involved over 300 people from a diverse array of leftist movements and political parties, according to Venezuela-based independent media center ABPnoticias.

Thursdays protest brought together representatives from numerous pro-Chvez social movements, including the Coordinadora Simn Bolvar (CSB), the Simn Bolvar National Communal Front (FNCSB), the Clara Zetkin Womens Movement, the Front for the Detained and Disappeared of the Continent, and the Revolutionary Tupamaros Movement. Also in attendance were former Venezuelan Trade Minister Eduardo Samn, current Venezuelan lawmaker Oscar Figueras Yul Yalbur, and investigative journalist Eva Golinger.

Protestors chanted slogans critical of the governments decision to deport Becerra, including a true revolution doesnt turn in revolutionaries and the middle-of-the-road comes right before treason.

On Tuesday, Pedro Eusse, of the Venezuelan Communist Partys (PCV) Political Bureau, said that the PCVs confidence in the government of President Hugo Chvez has been fractured by the decision to deport Becerra to Colombia and described his deportation as a concession to counterrevolutionary forces in the region.

We believe that this is a concession that the (Venezuelan) government has made to the imperialist forces, to the reactionary and counterrevolutionary forces of the continent. And it is a dangerous concession because it goes against the very values and principles that have been expressed to guide and orient this Bolivarian process, said Eusse.

Internationally, a number of well known defenders of the Chvez administration and Venezuelas Bolivarian Revolution joined their voices to the condemnations.

Argentinas Carlos Aznrez, Chief Editor at web-based Resumen Latinamericano, referred to Mondays deportation as the day in which the most elementary principles of international solidarity were thrown into the garbage by the Chvez administration.

Lack of Legal Clarity

According to Teo Zetterman, spokesperson for the Swedish foreign ministry, Sweden on Tuesday asked Venezuela to explain why Swedish authorities were not informed when they arrested a Swedish citizen and extradited him to Colombia."

Speaking to the AFP, on Wednesday Zetterman explained that Becerra was granted Swedish citizenship in 2000 and insisted that Sweden should have been informed by the Venezuelan government before sending Becerra to Colombia.

According to Hugo Martnez, one of Becerras three attorneys, Article 7 of Venezuelas Law on Refugees prohibits the deportation of a person to a country they fled for political purposes. Venezuelas Association of Bolivarian Communicators (ABC) added to Martnezs arguement, affirming that international law stipulates that nobody can be returned to a country where his/her life, physical integrity, or freedom is at risk.

In a press release issued on Friday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicols Maduro defended the Chvez governments handling of the Becerra Case and reiterated its overall defense of just causes.

They have sent their note and we are reviewing it, said Maduro in reference to the Swedish request for clarification in the Becerra Case. But now its up to them to explain why if this person has an international INTERPOL code out against him why he was allowed to leave their country? And all the other countries in which this person traveled should explain why they did nothing in response to the INTERPOL code, he said.

With respect to the legalities of the Becerra Case, Maduro affirmed the Venezuelan government has acted in a transparent way, in accordance with our own laws and in line with the responsibilities we have as the Venezuelan state.

Defending the Bolivarian Revolutions overall foreign policy, Maduro went on to say that when nobody was willing to repudiate, willing to raise the valiant voice, Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution denounced the United Nations Security Council decision (to authorize armed intervention against Libya).

Who is Joaqun Prez Becerra?

During the first half of the 90s, Joaqun Prez Becerra represented Colombias Patriotic Union (UP) political party on the municipal governing council in municipality Corinto, state of Valle del Cauca, Colombia. After the murder of two UP presidential candidates, eight UP congressmen, 11 UP mayors, 13 UP deputies, 70 UP councilmen, and thousands of UP activists, Becerra fled Colombia and sought political asylum in Sweden, according to Aporrea.

In Sweden, Becerra helped establish the online news source The New Colombia News Agency (ANNCOL), the self-proclaimed voice for the voiceless sectors of Colombia including numerous armed and unarmed social forces involved in Colombias political reality. Over the years, ANNCOL has become a hub for denunciations of human rights violations by the Colombian state and paramilitary organizations.

For his work at ANNCOL, the Colombian government has accused Becerra of being the FARCs ambassador in Europe and conspiring in and helping finance terrorism.

According to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Becerra has been responsible for many years for all of this evil propaganda that the FARC have done to Colombia in Europe."

On arrival at Colombias Paloquemao judicial detention center in Bogot, Becerra denied allegations he was a member of Colombias FARC. Im nobodys ambassador. This is an attack on freedom of expression, against independent media, he said on Monday night.

(Creative Commons license.)


My first thought: CIA agent. The New Colombia News Agency was infiltrated. Sweden seems to be a hotbed of U.S. cloak and dagger activity, what the Julian Assange entrapment and all. And it would be so very useful for the CIA to have operatives in and close to the FARC.

Second thought: Horror that Chavez has turned over a man who fled Colombia in 2000 and was given asylum in Sweden because of all the rightwing murders of the UP (leftist party) political activists in Colombia. However, I've seen so much propaganda about Chavez--so intense, so relentless, so, in the end, boring (although this is not boring)--that I'm inclined to give Chavez the benefit of the doubt and I wonder what's really going on with this.

It is just too, too convenient for the CIA and other malevolent parties to have a tool with which to divide the Left in Venezuela (especially given the 2012 election) and in the region in general.

Venezuela's foreign minister, Madura, says there was an Interpol arrest warrant out for Becerra and so what was he doing outside of Sweden? And what of the other countries he traveled through, apparently giving the warrant a pass?

Sounds like Becerra is awfully well-connected and moving smoothly through the world, for a leftist journalist.
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naaman fletcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-29-11 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Interesting take,
I didn't know anything about this other than what I posted. thanks.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-30-11 01:13 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Thanks for posting the Venezuelanalysis article. Another proof people who claim it only prints fluff
for Hugo Chavez simply are telling us they don't have the attention span of a gnat, and haven't bothered to READ it.

As for creating a way to try to divide his support groups from him, we know they'll NEVER give up, not ever. It's what the right-wing does. They can't afford to rest, since their success in this world depends upon the masses being divided.

Just like the right-wing P.O.S.'s in the U.S. are throwing so much energy into trying to tear the guts out of unions so they won't be able to support future candidates, and the left will be left behind, since it doesn't court dirty coporate financing the way the right does.

Really appreciate reading your excellent take on this Bercerra.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-29-11 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. Yep, I K&Red you. This is an important situation and needs close watching. Thanks for posting it.
I have an additional thought about it, that it's pro forma, to give the appearance of cooperation to Santos--for peace and economic purposes--and Chavez has an understanding with Sweden that they will pursue repatriation of their refugee citizen. I don't think that Santos can hold Becerra without permission (extradition) from Sweden. In other words, Venezuela didn't have jurisdiction to extradite. Becerra's lawyers could certainly argue this, I believe. It's kind of like England extraditing Assange to Sweden. Assange is an Australian. But this is even more of a no-no, because nothing binds Venezuela and Sweden together (common monarch). I can't recall if Australia finally agreed to England's extradition of Assange to Sweden. They were under a lot of pressure from Australians not to. Or if England just went ahead and did it, regardless of what Australia thought. In any case, this is significantly difference. If Becerra were a U.S. citizen and Venezuela extradited him to Colombia without U.S. approval, I think it wouldn't hold up.

So-o-o-o, I'm thinking this is pretty obvious actually--and the Chavez government knew it. They get points with Santos and Becerra goes back to Sweden.

We'll see. I'm rather struck with "divide and conquer" aspect of this situation, for forces conspiring against Chavez's re-election.
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