The Government of Colombia requested the extradition of the former congresswoman Aida Merlano, detained in a jail in Caracas, to the Venezuelan embassy in Bogotá that represents Juan Guaidó, recognized as the interim president of that country.
According to the Colombian Foreign Ministry, “this extradition request, issued by the Special Instruction Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (…) has been submitted to the Venezuelan embassy in Colombia, which represents the Legitimate government of President Juan Guaidó“.
Merlano, sentenced in Colombia to 15 years in prison for electoral corruption, he escaped last October taking advantage of an appointment at a dental office in Bogotá and was arrested on January 27 by agents of the Special Actions Force (FAES) of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) in Maracaibo (Venezuela).
In the process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asks Guaidó to “take all the steps that allow Mrs. Merlano return to Colombian territory, answer for your crimes and fulfill the sentence that has been imposed on you. “However, this request is unlikely to prosper because Guaido does not currently have any jurisdiction over Venezuelan Justice.
The Foreign Ministry also recalls that Colombia “welcomes the offer made by President Guaidó in recent days, in the sense of being willing to provide all his collaboration and that of the legitimate institutions of Venezuela, in the attention to this case“.
Colombia was, together with the United States, one of the first countries to recognize in January 2019, Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, which strained relations with the Nicolás Maduro’s regime, currently broken.
In its request, the Colombian Government emphasizes that “the commitment of President Guaidó and the National Assembly that he also chairs, with the rule of law and international cooperation in the fight against crime are an endorsement for the successful completion of this application. “
Also remember that international cooperation mechanisms Judicial with the Government of President Maduro, they were affected in their normal operation “having expelled all diplomatic and consular personnel from Colombia.”
Bad relations with Maduro
Maduro broke diplomatic relations on February 23, 2019 following the support of the Colombian president, Ivan Duke, to the attempt of Guaidó to cross the common border from Colombia to the front of a caravan with humanitarian aid, an effort that failed due to the opposition of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
After the arrest of Merlano, Maduro proposed to Duque, in a speech he delivered in Caracas, “resume” relations at consular level, which was rejected flat by the Colombian president, the main regional ally of Guaidó.
In a statement offered last week before a Venezuelan court, Merlano said the Duke government has the intention to kill her and accused several Colombian politicians of corruption, including former vice president Germán Vargas Lleras, former mayor of Barranquilla and former Atlantic governor Alex Char and other members of his family, as well as businessman Julio Gerlein.