Used in the Caribbean zone both in Venezuela and Colombia -and some other places though I don't know which ones for sure. It comes from "Vale", a brand of padlocks. When some guys were very close friends, people used to say they were "Vale cerrado", meaning like a tightly closed padlock. Later it became just "vale". Often styled as "mi vale"/"vale mía" (my buddy) or "valecita" (little buddy). It is also used as "el vale..." to colloquially address or refer to any young male.
These two guys are like brothers.
¡Habla, vale mía!
What's up, buddy!
Ey, pilla el vale del pantalón coleto.
Hey, look at that guy in the flashy pants.