Joaquín Pérez Becerra is being deported from Venezuela to Colombia, where the Colombian government is accusing Becerra of “terrorism” because his news site, The New Colombia News Agency (ANNCOL), allegedly “supports” the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP). Venezuelan authorities arrested Becerra on 23 April at Maiquetia International Airport, outside of Caracas, after a phone call from Colombian President Juan Santos requesting Becerra’s detention and deportation.
“It’s not my responsibility – the main blame goes to this gentleman who came here knowing that he was being looked for by Interpol, with a code red. Each person assumes their own responsibility,” Chavez said.
“[Becerra] got off the plane and we captured him, and just like we handed over the [accused terrorist] Chavez Abarca to the Cuban government, we handed [Becerra] over to the Colombian government,” Chavez continued.
In what is now being widely referred to as the “Becerra Case” by leftist social movements and political parties in Venezuela and abroad, the detention and deportation of Joaquín Pérez Becerra – director of ANNCOL and a source of re-published communiqués of the FARC-EP – has caused unrest among many of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s most staunch supporters.
While some protests against Becerra’s deportation have been held in downtown Caracas this week, a demonstration on Thursday outside of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry involved over 300 people from a diverse array of leftist movements and political parties.
Thursday’s protest brought together representatives from numerous pro-Chavez social movements, including the Coordinadora Simón Bolívar (CSB), the Simón Bolívar National Communal Front (FNCSB), the “Clara Zetkin” Women’s Movement, the Front for the Detained and Disappeared of the Continent, and the Revolutionary Tupamaros Movement. Also in attendance were former Venezuelan Trade Minister Eduardo Samán, current Venezuelan lawmaker Oscar Figueras Yul Yalbur, and investigative journalist Eva Golinger.
Protestors chanted slogans critical of the government’s decision to deport Becerra, including “a true revolution doesn’t turn in revolutionaries” and “the middle-of-the-road comes right before treason.”
— Espresso Stalinist
Revolutionary intellectuals protest deportation of alleged FARC-EP member Julian Conrado
The imprisonment in Venezuela, with the collaboration of Colombian military intelligence, of FARC-EP Commander Julian Conrado, and the Hugo Chavez Frias government’s decision to give this outstanding revolutionary to the neo-fascist government of Juan Manuel Santos was received with surprise and indignation worldwide.
The arguments cited by the Venezuelan government to justify the action (the request of Interpol, agreements with Colombia, etc.) are unacceptable and even ridiculous.
It’s shocking to invoke the “fight against terrorism” in the context of collaboration with Santos, a drug dealer who practices state terrorism as a strategy of power. With this additional problem: for years, President Hugo Chavez appealed for recognition of the FARC-EP as a belligerent revolutionary force.
Our concern and outrage is all the more given much the government in Bogota, according to news agencies, is already considering attending a possible extradition request for Commander Julian Conrado from the United States.
We are aware that the attitude of Venezuela is inserted into the continuity of a spurious cooperation with the Colombian police that recently resulted in the delivery to Juan Manuel Santos of Swedish journalist Joaquín Pérez Becerra, director of the news agency ANNCOL, and other prominent fighters the FARC-EP.
In the hope that the Venezuelan authorities immediately and unconditionally release Commander Julian Conrado, we the undersigned, in solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution, stress that the ideals espoused by the progressive democratic government of Hugo Chávez are incompatible with the gesture that motivates our vehement protest.
Istvan Meszaros, philosopher and university professor, United Kingdom, Hungary
James Petras, a sociologist, university professor, U.S.
Angeles teachers, doctors, partisan leader, Spain
Annie Lacroix Riz, historian, France
Carlos Aznarez, journalist, Argentina
Daniel Antonini, party leader, France
Domenico Losurdo, philosopher, university professor, Italy
Edmilson Costa, Professor University, Brazil
Filipe Diniz, architect, Portugal
Francisco Melo, Editor, Portugal
George Gastaud, philosopher, and political leader, France
George Hage, a former lawmaker, France
Henri Alleg, writer, France
Ivan Pinheiro, lawyer and political leader, Brazil
Jean Salem, historian, university professor, France
John Catalinotto, writer and editor, Workers World Party leader, U.S.
Fidelino Jorge Figueiredo, economist, editor of resistir.info, Portugal
Jose Paulo Gascao, editor of odiario.info , Portugal
Jose Paulo Netto, a university professor, Brazil
Leyla Ghanem, anthropologist and political leader, Lebanon
Luciano Alzaga, journalist, Sweden
Marina Minicuci, journalist, Italy
Mauro Iasi, university professor, party leader, Brazil
Miguel Urbano Rodrigues, writer, Portugal
Pavel Blanco Cabrera, political leader, Mexico
PRANCHÈRE Pierre, a former congressman, co da Resistencia, France
Virginia Fontes, historian, university professor, Brazil
Néstor Kohan, Investigator, Argentina