So woven into the American economy were a variety of big businesses that, when the 'recession' hit, the government deemed them "too big to fail" and provided them with gobs of taxpayer money to keep them afloat. The bailout money that the government claimed to hope would trickle down to the under- and unemployed did no such thing. Instead, the businesses used the money to shore up their own bookkeeping and no one looked at the fundamental model that had precipitated the crisis in the first place.
Now the drug kingpin Walid Makled has likewise caught a break. Designated a drug lord by the U.S., Makled was picked up in a Colombian border town after having enjoyed a meteoric rise in Venezuela. Colombian and U.S. authorities were delighted: Makled would be shipped to the United States and the full extent of his drug connections and activities would come to light. But Makled's highly-placed enablers in Venezuela felt the potential for catastrophe and, since Colombia and Venezuela had recently gone through a rough political patch, Bolivia decided to ship Makled to Venezuela for trial. It was a good-will gesture that won the lifting of some very expensive sanctions Venezuela had imposed on Bolivia.
"It's a shame he's coming here," Mildred Camero, Venezuela's top anti-drug official until her 2005 falling out with Chavez, told the AP. "Absolutely nothing is going to happen here. He will arrive. They will sentence him. They will isolate him, but we won't find out anything" about the extent of drug corruption in Chavez's inner circle.
How lucky U.S. bankers and stock brokers are: They don't even suffer the collusive inconvenience of having to go to jail. They are "too big to fail" and are allowed to keep peddling their drugs.
In Egypt and Tunisia, people have taken to the streets in an effort to reform their governments, root out corruption, and spread the wealth. I wonder if Americans have the same energy. I don't imagine it would change much, but it might put the drug lords on notice...for a little while.