U.S. Protecting Venezuelan Fugitive Rosales, Says Minister

The U.S. government is complicit in protecting former Zulia State Governor Manuel Rosales, who gave a speech in Washington, D.C. last week even though there is a red alert for his arrest before Interpol, said Venezuela’s justice and internal affairs minister, Tarek El Aissami.

By Tamara Pearson – Venezuelanalysis.com
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Mérida, December 9th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The U.S. government is complicit in protecting former Zulia State Governor Manuel Rosales, who gave a speech in Washington, D.C. last week even though there is a red alert for his arrest before Interpol, said Venezuela’s justice and internal affairs minister, Tarek El Aissami.

Rosales, an opposition leader and former presidential candidate who fled the country earlier this year after public prosecutors presented corruption charges against him, spoke at a forum last Thursday in the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

Rosales’s participation in the forum was supported by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and covered by the mainstream press, including the Venezuelan opposition news station Globovision and newspaper El Universal.

El Aissami said evidence of the U.S.’s complicity can be found in Interpol Washington’s reply to Interpol Caracas when asked about Rosales’s presence. The reply said: “According to our immigration records, there is no record of the subject entering the United States under the identity that you have provided,” El Aissami said.

El Aissami demanded that the U.S. explain how Rosales could enter its territory freely and make public declarations and not be detained, a fact he said was a “new aggression of [U.S.] imperialism.”

“Our people demand justice, but with actions like this, one sees once again the undemocratic disposition of the United States government, defying international law,” El Aissami said.

The minister said that there were officers of the U.S. State Department in the auditorium of the forum. He added that the U.S. has one of the strictest immigration policies and it was impossible to believe that Rosales snuck past their authorities without their knowledge.

At the forum, which was titled “Democracy in Latin America,” Rosales argued that the balance has shifted away from democracy in Latin America and that there is a “permanent and constant violation of human rights.”

The Venezuelan daily El Universal said that Rosales also planned to meet with U.S. politicians, naming Democratic Congressman Elliot Engel, and that he planned to talk about the “delicate situation in Venezuela,” and also visit the University of Georgetown.

So far this year Venezuela has captured and returned four U.S citizens who had a code red with Interpol. El Aissami said Venezuela will continue cooperating with the U.S., as it has been doing, in regard to the capture and deportation of people wanted by the U.S., but Venezuela also demands reciprocity.

Rosales was the opposition presidential candidate in 2006, then governor of Zulia, and later mayor of Zulian capital Maracaibo. He also participated in the 2002 coup, signing the self proclamation of Pedro Carmona as president of Venezuela after Chavez was kidnapped by the military.

Following charges of illicit enrichment and corruption earlier this year, Rosales fled to Peru where the right wing government of Alan Garcia granted him asylum.

Venezuela has also been demanding for years that the U.S. extradite terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, responsible for the bomb attack on the Cuban plane in 1976 which left 73 people dead, back to Venezuela.