Chavez let the drug traffic get out of control, for political reasons
We continue reading the book by Mildred Camero on this subject. The close alliance of drug kingpin Walid Makled with Carabobo state Governor Luis Felipe Acosta Carles became threatened by the appearance of army generals in the drug scene. Numbers continue from the first post:
18. A fight started between the two groups. The corrupt members of the army took away the Makled routes. The Army and the National Guard started fighting each other for control of the traffic.
19. In 2005 Chavez suspended the agreement with DEA, the U.S. anti-drug organization and the armed forces are free to move into the drug trafficking business.
20. The National Guard had operational power but the Army had more political power. General Francisco Belisario Landis is named by Camero as one of the Generals involved in the drug traffic in the early stages. He was considered to be the head of the CARTEL DE LOS SOLES (The drug cartel made up of Army officers).
21. Around 2008 Makled still had almost total control over the Port of Puerto Cabello, the largest in the country. The drug was kept in warehouses in the port. According to his testimony he had ministers, relatives of high level government officers and military officers in his payroll. According to Camero, Chavez knew about this and kept mum.
22. Jose Vicente Rangel also kept quiet about the drug trafficking activities. He facilitated the removal of Mildred Camero from her job and her replacement by a brother in law of Minister Jesse Chacon, called Luis Correa, related to drug trafficking. Dracula was put in charge of the blood bank.
23. Camero dedicates extensive comments to General Frank Morgado, National Guard officer, who was connected with drug activities. Morgado was allied with Vice-president Jose Vicente Rangel , with Jesse Chacon, minister of Justice!!, with general Marcos Rojas Salazar, top officer of the National Guard and with general Rodriguez Torres, head of DISIP, a police organization
24. One of the ways the drug clans continued their trafficking without obstacles was by stopping the modernization of the Port of Puerto Cabello, which had been agreed by Governor of the state of Carabobo, Henrique Salas Feo, with the anti-drug organization of Mrs. Camero. They had obtained financing from the U.S. for this project. Unfortunately Salas lost the election for Governor and Luis Acosta Carles, an accomplice of the drug traffickers, won the governorship. In this process related to the modernization project the name of Jose Vielma Mora, current Governor of the state of Tachira, is mentioned as receiving bribes. Vielma Mora was at the time head of the Income Tax Office, SENIAT, and asked for money to let the project continue.
25. Another member of the military involved in drug trafficking was General Alexis Maneiro. DEA had information about him. In spite of the evidence existing against him, Chavez named him head of the Military Academy (a teacher of future military officers!).
26. Camero and the DEA worked well together. In 2005 (?) they captured Jesus Maria Corredor, AKA El Boyaco, at the time the link between the FARC and the Venezuelan government. However, says Camero, this man escaped with the help pf General Miguel Rodriguez Torres, who is currently minister of the Interior in Nicolas Maduro’s government. 2005 was also the year in which Chavez dismissed her and sent DEA away.
27. Another high military officer involves in drugs named by Camero was General Jesus Rodriguez Figuera.
28. Camero claims she saw much documentary evidence of the involvement of the National Guard in drug trafficking, especially in the main Venezuelan international airport. In 2004 she sent a detailed letter to Chavez about this, who did….. nothing. She cited the case of the Air France aircraft, loaded with 1,300 kilograms of drug in the Venezuelan international airport, caught in Paris. Most of the people involved were military officers and staff.
29. Also in 2004 three military officers, Wilmer Mora, Javier Arraya and Wilmer Gonzalez were caught with 45 kilograms of cocaine in the international airport. They were released after a short stay in the police
30. When Luis Correa came to take over the job from Mildred Camero, one of the things he did was to burn all the reports in the files of the organization.
31. In 2008 the Foreign Narcotics King Pin Designation Act, based upon the findings in the laptops of deceased terrorist Raul Reyes, head of the FARC, was applied in Venezuela to include Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, General Hugo Carvajal, General Henry Rangel Silva, and later, in 2012, General Cliver Alcala Cordones, Freddy Bernal and Ramon Madriz Moreno as cooperating with drug traffickers. This was evidence that this activity already involved the highest levels of the Venezuelan government
32. The General Miguel Rodriguez Torrez, currently one of the most powerful members of the Maduro government, has been named by international intelligence agencies as involved in drug related activities and in helping Arab members of Hezbollah in Venezuela and linking with FARC.
The book also has an account of the Pre-Chavez period, of lesser interest. The interview is loosely carried out and often lacks precision and dates. Still, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the drug world in Venezuela and shows the extent to which this activity has infiltrated the government. If not a narco state Venezuela truly has had a narco government for the last 15 years.