Petro confirms that it will not extradite opponents after Diosdado Capello’s claim

Petro confirms that it will not extradite opponents after Diosdado Capello’s claim
Gustavo Pietro travels to his homeland, Ciénaga de Oro, on April 23, 2022.Juan Carlos Zapata

On Monday night, Gustavo Petro, the president who was elected in June despite fears in some sectors that he could turn Colombia into a reversal of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, sent the message that it will not be the case. In the process of restoring diplomatic and consular relations and when There are high expectations for commercial reopening Among the businessmen of the two countries, he publicly responded to one of Chavismo’s strongmen, former Vice President and today’s Deputy Diosdado Cabello.

The Venezuelan government asked in the past Extradition of former MP Julio Borgesasked for it Advertise from The High Court of Justice, but the Duque government rejected it. With the severing of diplomatic relations during Duki’s four-year tenure, this request and others with a political background such as Former Venezuelan Prosecutor Luisa OrtegaThey were not executed. With Petro’s election, they came back to life: a few days before, the president of the Chavismo-controlled Venezuelan Parliament, Jorge Rodriguez, gave a heated speech in which he formally asked the new government of Colombia to extradite Borges, the founder of Primero. The Justice Party is an important opposition leader.

As shown Bloomberg Last July, Venezuelans who feared losing protection in Colombia began to leave Colombia, despite the fact that the current president at the end of June EL PAÍS . said And that their government will not hand them over. “There are a lot of worried people. But not everyone. I know some politicians and journalists who decided to stay in Colombia anyway. Comments a journalist based in Bogotá who wanted to keep his name confidential.

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For this reason, different voices are welcomed today. For example, Eduardo Battistini, who served as a representative in Colombia for the opposition-dominated Venezuelan Assembly which in 2019 ignored Maduro and declared Juan Guaido the legitimate president of Venezuela.

Venezuelan opposition politician David Smolansky, OAS General Secretariat Commissioner for Venezuelan Migrant Crisis today, said something similar on Tuesday. “It is important that President Gustavo Petro said last night in his networks that the right to asylum and refuge is guaranteed in Colombia. This was no small thing. In this office, since his first report at the General Assembly in Medellin in 2019, and in the other 14 reports, we have always said That the Venezuelan should be recognized as a refugee,” he said at a forum on immigrants in Darien. In a similar vein, Zaire Mandarin, who was legal counsel for the same representation, said he praised “a message of this nature because, although short, it reflects the prevailing institutional will”.

Txomen Las Heras, Research Associate at the Venezuelan Observatory of the University of Del Rosario and President of the Dialogue Association of Colombian-Venezuelan Citizens, highlights that this is Petro’s first statement on the subject since he took office, and notes that it is Petro’s second statement on the subject. The brakes of the new president of Maduro. When General Padrino Lopez said that He received orders from Maduro in the sense of immediately restoring military relations, replied By saying that this was a process, which means that there are many other priorities in restoring relations, such as borders or trade. This allows me to understand that the Petro government does not allow Maduro to be manipulated by it.”

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Along those lines, Petro’s response to the opposition leaders’ handover is another sign that the thaw is a gradual process. And it has already happened that, despite the excitement that reopening the borders, its realization requires passage road continuesEspecially from the Venezuelan side. Still other obstacles stand in their way, such as the extradition of the convicted senator to Colombia Aida Merlano, binational guerrilla administration ELNmanaging the Venezuelan state company Monómeros (Capital for the Colombian Economy) or Venezuelan Exodus.

Regarding the extradition of Venezuelans requested by the Maduro government, Petro’s decision is a declaration that leaves questions. On the other hand, Maduro’s government has not submitted formal requests for extradition, so the new Foreign Ministry has not dealt with specific cases. This is important because according to international treaties in this regard (especially Convention relating to the Status of Refugees From 1951 and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967), asylum is granted when there are “justified fears” that they will be persecuted in their country “for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. In addition, it excludes people who have “committed a serious public crime”. Therefore, in specific cases there can be a debate about whether the concerns are justified or not, giving a margin for Colombia in a particular case to refuse asylum and grant extradition.

On the other hand, not all Venezuelans who criticized Maduro have recognized refugee status, which is not automatic. In order for a Venezuelan to be recognized as a refugee in Colombia, he must Submit a request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs And completing the process is not easy. This can be seen in the figures: compared to 2.4 million Venezuelan immigrants Covered by the Temporary Protection Act, which allows them to live and work in Colombia, Las Heras recalls that until recently there were only 41,000 asylum applicants. Others may not be protected, if the Petro ad is strictly enforced.

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“We have to give Petro a waiting period,” says Enrique Figueiredo, lawyer, diplomat and director of the information portal Analítica. He has said that it would not harm Venezuelan immigration to Colombia. Nor do I think he will take a hostile attitude towards the accusations against Maduro. Pietro knows he has a very complex international picture and he would be wise.”

“I think changes will come with Petro,” instead noted scholar and academic Giovanna de Michele. It won’t be immediate, but there will be pressure from extremist groups on the Colombian left for change in the face of Venezuelan exiles, I have no doubt. If I had been part of the Venezuelan exile in Colombia, I would have already left there.”

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Aygen Marsh

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