The ex-director of Venezuelan military intelligence Hugo Carvajal was arrested in Aruba last night at the request of the United States, who have accused him of trafficking drugs and providing assistance to the FARC, a Colombian guerilla organization.
Carvajal was in Aruba in preparation for this appointment as head of the Venezuelan consulate on the Caribbean island. According to the Aruban newspaper Ora 24, which originally broke the story, Carvajal holds a Venezuelan diplomatic passport but does not yet officially hold a diplomatic post.
The Miami Herald quoted an anonymous source involved in the investigation as saying:
This is the jewel on the crown. He’s the Pablo Escobar of this story. He’s the man who controls the movement [of drugs], controls the operation, controls the transactions and the money laundering.
Carvajal was the head of the Direccion de Inteligencia Militar [Military Intelligence Directorate] between 2004 and 2009.
The Venezuelan government issued an official statement on Carvajal’s arrest today, saying in part:
The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela emphatically rejects the illegal and arbitrary detention of the Venezuelan diplomat, carrier of a passport signifying that status; Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, which took place on the island of Aruba on behalf of Dutch authorities…
[the Venezuelan government] has activated every diplomatic mechanism to correct this grave violation of international law…
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela calls on the Kingdom of the Netherlands to rectify this unjust and unfair act, and for the authorities on the neighbouring territory [Aruba] to immediately release the Venezuelan diplomat Hugo Carvajal.
Carvajal was blacklisted by the United States Department of the Treasury since 2008 for his alleged ties to the international drug trade.
Below, a picture of Carvajal alongside Maduro at an event:
Conviasa Flight Cancellation Strands Hundreds in Madrid
Conviasa, the state-owned Venezuelan airline, was forced to cancel its scheduled flight from Madrid, Spain to Caracas today because the airline did not have an airplane available to carry out the flight. As a result, 250 passengers were stranded in Madrid.
The head of operations for Conviasa in Madrid, Fernando Riego, met with the passengers of flight 3013 today, and informed them that while the airline was looking to help them, there was no way for them to be given seats on other airlines that fly the same route, such as Iberia or Air Europa.
Riego also ruled out the possibility of reimbursement for the tickets, which means that the passengers will only return to Venezuela on a Conviasa flight. As of today, Conviasa has not been able to determine when that flight might be.
German Arms Manufacturer Sells Weapons to Venezuela Illegally
Sig Sauer, the famed German weapons manufacturer, is reported to have sold weapons to the Venezuelan government through a Romanian middle-man in order to circumvent German law, so says the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung.
According to the report, the company shipped the weapons to Romania, where assembly would be finalized by a third party. Then, the third party would export the weapons to Venezuela. In this way, Sig Sauer did not have to get permission from Berlin to sell weapons to Venezuela – a request that might have been denied – since the weapons were being shipped to Romania.
German law dictates that weapon exportations be expressively approved by Berlin. The permission, which comes in the form of a license, can be denied if the country to which the weapons are being exported is suffering from internal conflict, as is the case in Venezuela.
Sig Sauer manufactures the SIG P226, a standard issue pistol in the Venezuelan army.
Finally, some pictures from around the country.
A protest in Valencia today. The sign reads, “Aguanta Venezuela Falta Poco” [Hang on, Venezuela! We’re almost there”]:
It appears as if the march pictured above met resistance from the National Guard, leading to confrontations:
Disturbances have also been reported today in Barquisimeto, Lara state;