Saturday, July 26, 2014

US/Venezuela/Aruba: Update--Close Adviser to Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Detained

According to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, a retired Venezuelan military general who was a close adviser to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, now wanted in the US over drug-trafficking charges remains in jail on the Caribbean island of Aruba over the weekend awaiting a formal extradition request, his attorney said. 

Hugo Carvajal, head of Venezuelan military intelligence from 2004-2008 during the late president Hugo Chávez's rule, was seized last week after flying to the semi-autonomous island that is part of the Netherlands. 

Venezuela's Socialist government is calling the detention of Carvajal at Washington's behest an illegal "kidnapping" and has threatened reprisals if he is not released.

Critics say the case could lift the veil of secrecy on what opposition politicians allege are years of official connivance in the illegal drugs trade and aid to Colombian guerrillas. 

The link cited  below by The Washington Post updates additional information on Carvajal's detention: 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/aruba-to-hold-venezuela-official-seeks-immunity/2014/07/25/4156e382-145d-11e4-ac56-773e54a65906_story 

The US government put Hugo Carvajal on a blacklist in 2008, accusing him of protecting cocaine shipments from seizure by Venezuela anti-narcotics authorities and providing weapons and shelter to Colombia's FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] rebels on the border. 

COMMENT: A local court in Aruba on Friday (July 25) rejected a claim of diplomatic immunity by Carvajal, whose nomination to the post of consul on Aruba remains to be formalized by authorities in The Netherlands, media in Venezuela and Aruba reported.

The US has 60 days to present its case for extradition to the USA.

Carvajal's legal counsel in Aruba is Chris Lejuez. 

Mr. Carvajal's detention potentially could escalate tension between Washington and Caracas.