In the 1980’s Trinidad and Tobago advanced at the UN the proposal to create an international court to effectively deal with transnational organized crime. And as customarily in the US the proposal gave birth to a completely different institution: The International Penal Court to focus on crimes against humanity. Trinidad had to wait until 2000 to see the international community take action against transnational organized crime when the UN Convention against Transnational Organized crime was adopted in Palermo, Italy.
By that time Trinidad was sharing its sea-lanes with and autocratic regime in Venezuela that was turning criminal by virtue of its foreign alliances with FARC in Colombia and with Cuba. For those that lack the background, FARC had turned into a drug trafficking organization in the 1990s while Cuba had allowed Colombian drug lords to use its territory to transship drugs to the US at the tune of US $1 million per day. And as time passed Venezuela’s regime became increasingly delinquent as its sealed power sharing pacts with street gangs and drug dealing mafias. The idea being for criminal organizations to exert control over swaths of the Venezuelan territory to disseminate fear and through fear secure the regime’s survival. In exchange the regime would turn blind eyes to their criminal activities. Criminal organizations began to take control of regions within Venezuela’s territory . El Tren de Aragua took over the core of the industrial region of central Venezuela. Santanita and his gang took over Táchira, a state that borders Colombia; Wilexi took over Petare , a slum in Caracas that rivals the favela La Rosilla in Rio de Janeiro. Eventually both Santanita and Wilexi had disagreements with the regime that turned them into hit targets by government forces. In the Eastern region of Venezuela colectivos took over cottage fisheries. At first exacting tariffs over the daily catch. Then they took direct control of the boats and began to kidnap yachts and charge surtaxes to those brave enough to sail close to Venezuela. And Tobago the precious ecotourism destination turned into a solitary destination avoided by the rich and famous that it was supposed to attract.
Along the road came US sanctions which gave even more power to unlawful organizations, as they were the conduit to enhance illicit income streams represented by drug and human trafficking; gold and other mineral exploitation and; fees accruing from renting territory to organized crime Two mega businesses saw the light. First sanctions could be bypassed by virtue of placing Venezuelan oil in Trinidadian tankers so that it would reach international markets as Trinidadian product. Second, let the people smugglers exploiting desperate Venezuelans flying from the regime to freely operate. Some of the “charges” however would need to be deported back to Venezuela. And this is how the horrific tragedy that surfaced in the Port of Guiria last week. There corpses began to be washed up by the sea. The bodies men women, children and even babies popped up by dozens. Messages retrieved from relatives of the death cellphones told the world a story that reveals the entente cordiale between Trinidadian authorities, the Venezuelan regime and the criminal gangs trafficking with people. Because Trinidad obviously could not exact any punishment either to gangs or the regime in Venezuela, it thus chose to join in the profits.