Joshua Goodman of the Associated Press (AP) reported this afternoon that Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal, the former chief of Venezuelan military intelligence, had been re-arrested in Spain and that his extradition to the United States was imminent.
Below, Goodman’s tweet:
Carvajal was a trusted member of the Chavez government, rising to the leadership of the Dirección General de Contrainteligencia Militar (Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence, DGCIM), one of the country’s most feared security institutions.
He held that position from 2004-2011, and then from 2013-2014.
Carvajal grew increasingly distant from the Maduro regime, culminating with his defection in February of this year. Carvajal shared a lengthy message on his Twitter account in which he called Maduro a dictator, and singled him out as being responsible for the humanitarian crisis gripping the country.
He is among the highest-ranking chavistas to turn against Maduro, a list that also includes former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz and former PDVSA chief Rafael Ramirez.
Carvajal’s re-arrest and extradition would signal a significant shift in Spain’s position in his case. Just this past September 17, a Spanish court rejected Washington’s extradition request for the former intelligence chief.
Spain’s El Espanol reports that in the tribunal that revoked the September extradition rejection, eleven judges voted to reverse that decision while eight voted to maintain it.
Prosecutors with the New York Southern District Court allege that Carvajal is personally responsible for smuggling approximately “5.6 tonnes of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in 2006”.
Carvajal’s imminent extradition is bound to send shockwaves through the halls of power in Venezuela, as his position atop the country’s intelligence service for over a decade and close proximity to the apex of the Bolivarian Revolution are likely to have made Carvajal privy to the Maduro regime’s worst excesses.
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