Seven Colombian drug mafiosi, all allegedly tied to J.J. Rendón, samurai cosplayer and dirty political trickster, and until recently, advisor to the re-election campaign of current Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. The fallout from this affair is going to keep right on falling…and right now, some downright radioactive ashes are raining down on Jota-Jota’s Miami penthouse…an unlikely place to find a self-styled political refugee from Venezuela, no?
The US residency of controversial political advisor J.J. Rendón could be at risk thanks to allegations that he received $12 million from the mafia to put before the Colombian government a proposal to dismantle narcotrafficking three years ago, according to Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper.
Federal sources assured El Tiempo that for months, the narcotrafficker Javier Calle, alias “Comba”, had told members of the Colombian Attorney General’s office and the Department of Justice details of the so-called “narcocolecta”. And it is clear that while this is an investigation on the part of Colombia, the Obama government is interested in the matter because it involves a Venezuelan citizen who is seeking status as a refugee from the Venezuelan government: J.J. Rendón.
“Mr. Calle’s declarations on the case are under oath in his acceptance of culpability. He knows that if he lies, it will break the agreement with the United States, which includes the transfer of property and of 12 men who have already been extradited,” explained a source in New York.
The source added that it is clear that if there is a probe into the matter, in any case it would lead to an “evaluation” of Rendón’s refugee claim.
What the US authorities — and now, the Colombians — are trying to establish is whether or not Rendón received money resulting from a criminal activity, which would constitute illicit enrichment.
What is certain is that the proposal in which Rendón served as intermediary did not prosper. The Santos government discarded it after the Attorney General’s office considered that it was not viable.
In any case, the possibility that through this type of mediation — a mechanism used in the past to facilitate the surrender of illegal groups — Rendón may have taken payments from capos, is what is in the eye of the hurricane of an electoral campaign in full swing. In fact, the controversy caused him to step down from the Santos campaign this week, to dedicate himself to his [legal] defence.
One of the things which needs to be explained and which draws the attention of investigators, is the purchase of a $4 million penthouse in Florida, which Rendón signed ten days after the Colombian Attorney General’s office received the offer from the “Comba” emissaries. This took place on July 5, 2011, at 3:05 p.m., in the office of the then-attorney general, Viviane Morales.
Also under investigation is whether it is true that the mafia handed over some of the money in the United States, and some in Mexico. For that purpose, an ex-government official, Germán Chica, met with his then partner, J.J. Rendón, in late 2011.
To that end, the Venezuelan advisor says that they could probe the licitude of his property. And Chica, who also stepped down as director of the Federation of Departments due to the denunciations, also denies any ties to narco-payments.
But in the acceptance of culpability “Comba” assures, on at least two occasions, that money went to J.J. Rendón and one of his partners, yet to be identified.
The mafioso broached the subject upon referral to his attorney, Ignacio Londoño, an intermediary to the offer to surrender and from whom he says, he was distanced by his alleged connections to the crime of a nephew alias “Rasguño”.
“In 2010 they started using (Londoño) for the Colombian project with Juan José Rendón, alias J.J. the Venezuelan…I got nothing out of it, and on top of that, they robbed me of $12 million. All that money was the product of narcotrafficking, and it went to Juan José Rendón and his partner,” reads the document.
While the case moves forward in Colombia, the United States will state in the coming weeks if it will approve the refugee claim of J.J. Rendón in light of this scandal.
In their defence before the authorities and the media, those involved in this scandal have mentioned several persons who might have information about the frustrated proposal by the mafia and the whereabouts of the $12 million. One of them is Luis David Duque, a former collaborator of Germán Chica, who ended up working for J.J. Rendón. Also, the capos who provided the narcodollars will be investigated: Daniel “El Loco” Barrera, who gave $4 million; “Diego Rastrojo”, who gave $2.5 million, and “Comba”, with $3 million. The remaining $2.5 million were from “Cuchillo”, who was killed in a police sting. The property of Germán Chica will also be investigated.
I find it hard to believe that Jota-Jota will be able to continue on as a refugee claimant in any case, because he has suffered no hardship since leaving Venezuela claiming to be “persecuted”, and indeed has only prospered since he washed up in Miami. HIs propensity for dirty-tricks campaigns is another strike against him, although I’m sure the US government is going to try very hard to overlook that, seeing as it works out (or so they’d hope) in their favor. After all, they’ve had a hate-on for Bolivarian politics ever since Chavecito was elected in 1998. Jota-Jota’s clownish antics as campaign advisor to Henrique Capriles will not be probed, which is kind of a shame, since he deserves to be exposed as a fraud there, too. But his ties to Colombian drug barons, and the interesting timing of his acquisition of that fancy Miami pad, will certainly do nicely for the time being. And if he gets kicked out — which, at the present time, is only a possibility, not a certainty — it would be sweet indeed to see him dragged kicking and screaming back to Caracas, to face some long-overdue home justice.