Joining the outlaw club?

It looks as though those who thought that Hugo Chávez had saved his skin with the multiple embrace in Santo Domingo were mistaken.

Neither the declaration of the Organization of American States nor the agreement of the Rio Group cover up the fact that Venezuela and Ecuador have tolerated and harbored in their territory, and presumably financed, narco-terrorist groups that harass and attack a sovereign, democratic State such as Colombia, and that have killed and kidnapped thousands of people from all parts of the world.

What is more, neither of these agreements can wipe out or sweep under the carpet the explosive information revealed in the laptops, pen drives, PDAs, and cellular phones that were seized from Raúl Reyes and Iván Ríos, two of the terrorist who fell last week. The more than 15,000 documents found so far, and that are already in the hands of Interpol and the FBI, are a time bomb that will explode at any time and whose expansive waves will affect not only Hugo Chávez but the country and his fellow citizens as well.

This Monday, a spokesman from the US Department of State reported oninvestigations that are being conducted to establish whether sponsorship of terrorist organizations are grounds for including Venezuela on the “select group” of Outlaw States made up, for the moment, of North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Iran.

Should Venezuela join this pernicious club, the consequences would be much more serious for the country than if Hugo Chávez had been accused by Álvaro Uribe before the International Criminal Court (ICC). A trial before the ICC would have had criminal and legal consequences for Chávez as an individual, and only him.

If Venezuela is classified as an Outlaw State, on the other hand, it will have to face sanctions of all kinds, among them: a) restrictions on economic aid from multilateral organizations; b) a ban on purchases of military equipment and dual-use equipment, such as computers or other high-tech equipment; c) a ban on foreign companies doing business in the country, including oil business; and d) the freezing of assets and bank accounts of the Venezuelan State and of private individuals abroad.

This situation would become extremely complicated if the European Union and other countries were to second the United States in this decision.
Chávez has literally stretched things to the limit in terms of what is allowed in relations with countries and groups acknowledged by nations throughout the world as being outlaw and terrorist states. Unfortunately, when the time comes to be held accountable, Venezuelan citizens will pay the consequences alongside Chávez.

In short, what happened on Dominican Republic on Friday was not the happy ending of a bad operetta but the start of a tragedy that threatens to grow to unimaginable proportions.

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