Sovereignty and Impunity: The IMF Director and the Venezuelan Vice-President

The episode in Barajas highlights, once again, that Chavismo doesn’t merely exercise power, it exhibits it with obscenity

Delcy Rodríguez is sanctioned by the European Union for gross human rights violations. (Photo: OAS)

Spanish – New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, 4:40 pm. It happened around the same time as the Air France flight 023 to Paris, which was scheduled for that time but delayed by a few minutes. The airport authority ordered the pilots to return to the terminal. The suspect was arrested inside the plane and taken off the plane in handcuffs.

The police acted on a complaint of sexual assault by an employee of the Sofitel Hotel in New York. The defendant was held in a Harlem police station on charges of “sexual assault, attempted rape, and kidnapping.” At the time of his arrest, he claimed to have diplomatic immunity, but the warrant was nevertheless executed. Two days later, the State Department determined that such immunity did not apply to the case.

Moreover, after his court appearance on May 16, the judge in the case rejected his request for two million USD bail and ordered his transfer to the Rikers Island prison. For those who don’t know about this place, there are plenty of films showing that Rikers is not exactly the Sofitel on 44th street and Fifth Avenue.

The person we are talking about was none other than Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, a position he was forced to step down from. He was also leading the polls for the 2012 French presidential election, a candidacy he was also forced to withdraw from. And all this happened although he was later acquitted when the prosecution dropped the charges due to inconsistencies in the complainant’s allegations.

Let’s fast-forward to January 20, 2020, and travel to Barajas, Madrid’s airport named after Adolfo Suárez. You will notice a story of contrasts, double standards, to say the least.

That’s when Delcy Rodríguez landed in Barajas. It should have never happened because Maduro’s vice-president faces sanctions from the European Union for serious human rights violations. A large number of governments, organizations, and individuals, several of them European, have reported her to the International Criminal Court for perpetrating crimes against humanity.

She should have been deported immediately, but instead, she held a meeting in an airport VIP room with José Luis Ábalos, the Spanish government’s Transport Minister and the PSOE’s Organization Secretary. The minister arrived at the airport to meet Rodríguez in the early hours of the morning, literally secretly, to avoid her deportation.

Adolfo Suárez, the architect of democratic Spain, would have been outraged. Well, in plain and simple terms, it was an act of cooperation with a criminal by a Spanish minister.

The Ministry’s spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, herself, announced that Delcy Rodríguez had left the next day on a commercial flight to Doha, without mentioning where she had spent the night. It is hard to believe that the Spanish government is this naive. Instead, they are navigating this situation effortlessly, knowing that they enjoy impunity.

Montero also praised her colleague Ábalos, saying that his action allowed him to anticipate a possible diplomatic conflict “by preventing Rodríguez from setting foot on Spanish soil,” since “she did not go beyond the border control.” This was only because the minister intervened to hide the fact that Rodríguez did enter Spanish territory and obviously forced lower-ranking officials to transgress fundamental immigration rules. All passengers are recorded, those entering and those in transit.

Justifying the argument that Delcy Rodríguez did not set foot on Spanish soil requires a kind of “Fictional Right,” the idea that there are areas of an airport that are no man’s land. If the Spanish government follows this logic, they would say that Strauss-Kahn should not have been arrested because he was on the runway about to take off with his passport stamped and was no longer in the United States. The absurd explanations offered by the Spanish government are a real insult to human intelligence.

The central question of the case is why Delcy Rodríguez has the capacity, that is, the power to expose the Spanish government to a significant political and diplomatic crisis. And, furthermore, why does the government willingly assume the risk, including committing immigration violations to protect her?

Well, it is straightforward: whoever once received a dollar from the Chavista regime is owned by the Chavista regime. Delcy Rodríguez subjects the government of Spain to embarrassment – more so, not coincidentally, she does this when Guaidó was in Europe – because she can.

Her visit is both a mafia-like message and a reminder that some members of the Spanish government belong to her: Vice-President Pablo Iglesias and his close advisor Rodríguez Zapatero, to cite two examples. The episode in Barajas highlights, once again, that for Chavismo, power is not only exercised, but also displayed with obscenity. Strauss-Kahn wrongly thought that his position would grant him immunity from the police and justice system of New York City. In contrast, Delcy Rodríguez is confident that her position allows her to enjoy impunity from the government of Spain as she did.

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