The poster that illustrates this column is real. The dictator Nicolás Maduro has been wanted by the US judiciary since 2020. American authorities are offering $15 million for information leading to his arrest. All indications are that Maduro will be in Buenos Aires for the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) the Bolivarian version of the Organization of American States founded in 2010 under the auspices of Hugo Chávez, Raúl Castro and Cristina Kirchner. Evo Morales and of course Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Argentine authorities have prepared a special security program for Maduro, who is scheduled to remain in the country until January 23. Opposition leader Patricia Bullrich has asked Argentina’s court to arrest Maduro when he moves into Buenos Aires. In their opinion, the dictator notwithstanding the warrant issued by the United States for the crime of cocaine trafficking (yes, Maduro is accused of cocaine trafficking) the dictator should be arrested and charged with the crimes against humanity he and his regime are committing. A legal movement, based on arguments already made against other dictators such as Chile’s Alberto Pinochet, but which, in Maduro’s case, should be confined to the purely political sphere.
Maduro is expected in Buenos Aires as one of the stars of the event. His landing in the Argentine capital will have the same apotheotic meaning that its creator and mentor, Hugo Chávez, imprinted in his various demonstrations of nonsubmission to any domination. In this case, Maduro will show the world that the $15 million bounty offered by the United States is just to emphasize that he and his friends don’t give a damn about justice. More specifically, the United States judiciary is known for its relentless (verb tense importance here) treatment of Latin American drug traffickers who dump tons of drugs into American territory.
Maduro’s disdain for his people, region, law and judiciary can be explained by his victories over nearly a decade at the helm of an admittedly brutal regime. Maduro gritted his teeth and faced his opponents inside and outside Venezuela. He arrested, tortured, killed. And? He was not the first and not the only one to survive in power with such brutality.
Focusing only on Latin American examples, before him came Fidel Castro and his gerontocrats, who are still in power today. Evo Morales, pursued, arrested, killed and currently busy promoting a war to divide and steal a piece of Peru (and if it works, a piece of Chile too).
Last October, Maduro achieved something unprecedented. In a 2015 operation by the US antidrug agency DEA, he succeeded in persuading the United States to release his nephews who had been arrested in flagrante for drug trafficking. The operation was treated as a “prisoner exchange”. The Biden administration celebrated that the Chavista regime freed seven US citizens detained in Venezuela. But there is no way to equate the situation of someone who has been arrested, tried and convicted by an independent judicial system with someone who has been effectively kidnapped by a dictatorship where the judiciary acts as a liaison to the regime.
Maduro’s landing at Celac with impunity is accompanied by two other relevant moves. The first is at the regional level. President Lula, one of the creature’s parents, is another star of the current issue of Celac. His participation marks Brazil’s return to the bloc. In 2019, thenPresident Jair Bolsonaro turned his back on the initiative.
The second relevant event has a global dimension. The possible arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Argentines are awaiting the arrival of the Chinese, who would come to give his blessing to the rebirth of the block with the return of its most muscular member, namely Brazil.
Xi’s presence in Argentina can be read as a step forward for CELAC which emerged as an alternative to the Organization of American States, as mentioned at the beginning of the column, but also as an antagonistic force to the United States and Canada, which “manage too much”. in the OAS. Xi, who is leading China’s unprecedented advance into the region notably Argentina will lend his endorsement and support to the bloc.
The Bolivarians are back and they brought everything with them. The signs that China will feed them have been obvious, but many insist on not seeing it.