Venezuela reproached Colombia for not having formally requested a search for the escaped ‘Pablito’ who it calls a ‘paramilitary’, even though in Colombia he is a known leader of the ELN rebel organization.
Venezuelan Minister for the Interior and Justice, Tarek El Aissami, said “the Colombian government has not formally notified us of the alleged escape of this paramilitary ‘Pablito’. Put purely and simply, he escaped and is in Venezuela. Look at how the Colombian government deals with these issues.”
El Aissami told a press conference that ‘Pablito’ is the alias of “paramilitary” Carlos Marin Guarin. However, both Alvaro Uribe‘s government and the ELN themselves say that ‘Pablito’ is the alias of Hannibal Gustavo Giraldo, a member of the ELN’s Central Command.
He escaped with the assistance of the ELN on 7 October after being transferred to an Arauca prison near the Venezuelan border.
This past weekend Interpol issued a red warrant for the capture of ‘Pablito’ in any country, reports news source Terra. He is charged with murder, rebellion, and terrorism. He is the alleged murderer of eight Venezuelan solidiers and a Catholic bishop, and the bomber of the Caño Limon – Coveñas oil pipeline, which he allegedly bombed 200 times.
During the press conference, El Aissami accused the Colombian government of “irresponsibility” for saying that ‘Pablito’ “is supposedly in Venezuela. Now the Venezuelan authorities are responsible for finding him. Aha!” said the Minister.
He went on to say that much like with the issue of drug trafficking, “Colombians are the main producers of cocaine consumed by Americans, but Venezuelans are to blame. It is a fable that has been built with we know not what intention, but we are used to this kind of rotten pot.”
In contrast, Venezuelans, he said, “know where there is a confessed and convicted terrorist, that our judicial authorities keep requesting to extradite: in Bogota, protected by the [Colombian] authorities,” he said, in reference to Pedro Carmona, who in April 2002 proclaimed himself successor to President Hugo Chavez, when he attempted to overthrow the government in a failed coup.
Meanwhile, El Aissami reported the arrest of Colombian Luis Fernando Cediel Roto, who, he said, is wanted by U.S. authorities for drug trafficking and money laundering.
Cediel Roto was arrested Wednesday, making “eleven drug capos caught so far this year, which debunks the claims of the right-wing and the empire [United States] that Venezuela does not collaborate” in the fight against drugs, the minister proclaimed.
He also reported that on Thursday two trucks were found each containing half a ton of marijuana. “These trucks came from Colombia. All the drugs seized in Venezuela have come with impunity from Colombia,” El Aissami said, adding that this latest seizure brought the total to 48 tons of various drugs throughout the year, all allegedly originating in Colombia.
Venezuela froze diplomatic and commercial relations with Colombia on 28 July following the Colombian government’s signing of an agreement with the United States to permit military access to seven Colombian army bases.