Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez & Terrorism: few unquestionable facts
By Aleksander Boyd
London 09.01.05 | The link between the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and terrorism seem to be a recurring theme. Time and again denounces and cases surface, however the official propaganda apparatus of Venezuela repeatedly play down reports branding the ever useful argument of the international conspiracy against the saviour of the downtrodden, Hugo Chavez that is. However preposterous, in the eyes of Venezuelan officials, these reports may be, a few unquestionable facts point at a rather lenient stance vis-à-vis terrorism at best and at worse at a clear state policy of protecting terrorists. Allow me to point out some facts.
The Chavez – Montesinos connection
In 1992, Hugo Chavez led a coup attempt against Carlos Andres Perez. Companions of his, who managed to escape, flew to Peru and were protected by strongman Vladimiro Montesinos. In June 2001 Montesinos was arrested in Caracas, where he had been living for some time. Montesinos entered the country, with a Venezuelan passport, under the alias “Manuel Antonio Rodriguez”. The International Enforcement Law Reporter provides a summary of press comments about the Chavez – Montesinos relationship. Fact is the Guevara brothers (Jose and Otoniel), via the Intelligence and Preventive Services Directorate (DISIP), were protecting Montesinos at the expense of hefty payouts. Chavez, ever the fallen angel, denounced an international complot against him and promised to set up an investigation into the affair, stating that Jose Guevara would have face justice. Bear in mind the date, June 2001. Peruvian authorities accused Chavez of having protected Montesinos as a way or returning the favour by the latter towards the military pustchists in 1992. Hernan Lugo Galicia reports in El Nacional (16 July 2001):
TRUTH COMMISSION OBTAINED PROOF OF TIES WITH GOVERNMENT - The Truth Commission compiled in Lima, Peru, several documents, videos, and conversations that demonstrate that active officers of the DISIP and Interpol, former police agents, deputies of the AN, and even President Chavez knew about Montesinos' presence and did nothing about it and that on the contrary, they hindered intelligence actions by the FBI and the Peruvian Police. They affirmed that they have proof on the participation of three ministers -whose names they did not disclose -in the protection of Montesinos and how the Venezuelan authorities hindered the search for the former fugitive. Next Tuesday, the Truth Commission hopes to receive a list of Venezuelans who travelled to Lima in the past two years to determine whether Eliezer Otaiza was there in October 1999 and met with the then Peruvian strongman. According to police reports drafted by Peruvian agents and now in the hands of the commission, Luis Miquilena, Luis Alfonso Davila, and Jose Vicente Rangel were informed about Montesinos' whereabouts by a "ranking" DISIP official, who has participated in the negotiations with the Colombian guerrillas. Source BBC Monitoring
Only recently were the Guevara brothers brought to justice, not because of Montesinos’ investigation but rather due to prosecutor Danilo Anderson’s death. According to local sources Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel’s son, current mayor of Petare, hired them recently and they are ultimately the ones responsible of the execution of Anderson’s bomb blast.
On a lighter note, it is quite bizarre to see that journalist Jeremy Bigwood donated the unclassified documents about Montesinos, taking into account his strong advocacy, together with Eva Golinger, in favour of Hugo Chavez.
The Chavez – Granda connection
Rodrigo Granda Escobar (a.k.a. Ricardo Gonzalez, Arturo Campos) is a top guerrilla leader of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, FARC. He was captured in Caracas allegedly by bounty hunters, although the version that he was simply arrested by intelligence operatives of Colombia can not be ruled out owing to the clumsy investigation that has been conducted by Venezuelan authorities. Needs be stressed that Venezuelan officials have tried, unsuccessfully one must add, to imply that Granda was in Venezuela on his own free will. However, as customary, reality is way more starker than that and it has been reported that Granda was not only a guest of honour of the recent Bolivarian celebration hosted by Chavez, what’s more he participated in one of the discussion tables in Monagas, he met with international figures invited to the event and with the deputy woman of the ruling MVR party in charge of the organization of the conference. The final blow to the official Venezuelan argument, desperate to deviate attention from this incident, is the fact that Rodrigo Granda was naturalised by the regime in contravention to legal dispositions and was living in the country together with his wife and daughter. Granda is even registered to vote, with the ID 22942118 as can be checked in the National Electoral Council’s registry.
It appears that Granda had contacts with the Venezuelan DISIP; it has been reported that in January 2002, accompanied by a DISIP commission, the FARC leader picked up his wife Yamilé Restrepo Londoño, Colombian (passport No. AG388960) and daughter Mónica María Granda Restrepo (passport No. AH000372) at Maiquetia airport. Then Venezuelan Minister of Interior Ramón Rodríguez Chacín authorised their admission on “humanitarian and State reasons” [sic], contravening the decision of General Marcos Ferreira, former director of Immigration Services (DIEX).
The same Rodriguez Chacin was also implicated in the case of Colombian airplane-hijacker Jose Maria Ballestas, which is another example of lax attitude towards terrorists on the part of the Venezuelan regime.
Taking the aforementioned into perspective and considering the close, almost loving, relationship between Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, how can it rationally be argued that Chavez has got no connections with terrorism? If it hangs around with terrorists, speaks with terrorists, hosts celebration in the company of terrorists, governs the country after a terrorist model and protects terrorists; it must be a terrorist!!
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