…and associate of 6to Poder’s Leocenis Garcia.
Hey Gringo, a reader opines.
You might be on the right track about why Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal and 6to Poder’s publisher, Leocenis Garcia, became associates while Garcia was jailed in Carvajal’s dungeonsin Boleita.
Perhaps the two indeed became partners in extortion, as you suggested. “El Pollo” certainly has dirt on practically everyone, and Leocenis owns a media group he can hammer anyone with – except the regime, of course. “El Pollo” can feed Garcia incriminating intelligence to the 6to Poder publisher, who can in-turn spin intelligence into scandalous, embarrassing and legally incriminating investigative exposes. “El Pollo” can then supply the muscle to ensure big cash payoffs are made to avert potential scandals and criminal prosecutions. But have you considered an alternative?
Perhaps “El Pollo” hired Leocenis Garcia for some reputational rehabilitation in Venezuela? I’m told by my pals in Miami, Gringo, that Carvajal paid former CIA spook Frank Holder a lot of cash to repair his image with the US, but that turned out to be a waste of money. Now, Carvajal knows he’ll be arrested the instant he touches US soil. So maybe “El Pollo” hired Leocenis Garcia ‘pro bono’ to repair his reputation in Venezuela, as part of whatever deal 6to Poder’s owner made with the Bolivarian beast to get sprung from prison and all his seized assets restored.
If “El Pollo” has nowhere to go, it behooves him to burnish his black image and remind the ruling minority, presently carving up the country amongst themselves, that he was a key, trusted adviser to late President Hugo Chavez. After all, – “El Pollo” is the man who saved Chavez from 20 coups, remember?
Your alternative theory might be accurate, esteemed reader, but it’s difficult to believe that there’s anything benign in this strange partnership of a gangster general with longtime direct links to the FARC in Colombia and a demonstrably corrupt journo. Carvajal was officially designated a FARC collaborator by the US Treasury in 2008, but he was already a full-time narco-gangster in 2000.
He has been directly linked to a laundry list of crimes that include: contract assassination, abduction for ransom, extortion, drug trafficking and “executive protection” of drug traffickers and drug shipments, and those are just the FARC-related crimes.
Carvajal’s crew of rogue government intelligence officials have also been implicated in the 2008 assassination of Pierre Gerges–brother of Reporte Diario de la Economia published Tannous “Tony” Gerges. As well as with the abduction of two well-known Venezuelan bankers several years ago.
No amount of reputational rehabilitation in 6to Poder can ever persuade the Venezuelan public that Carvajal is just a widely misunderstood and unfairly maligned loyal soldier of the revolution. His public record already presents a much too rich and murderous trove of criminal enterprise. I do believe that Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal and Leocenis Garcia have become partners in nefarious enterprises, and it’s only a matter of time before their unholy dealings come to light. Criminal impulses course through this duo’s arteries with every heartbeat, and eventually these urges will rise to the surface, like gas bubbles floating to the surface of an open cesspool. But don’t take this Gringo’s word for it, simply going through “El Pollo’s” rap sheet should be enough to tell you that.
Carvajal has been actively collaborating with the FARC since at least the mid-1990s. Trafficking drugs with the FARC, protecting FARC drug transshipments, protecting FARC militants in Venezuelan territory, smuggling weapons, munitions, and explosives to and from Venezuelan territory to the FARC in Colombia, have all been part of “El Pollo’s” rich narco-gangster history. All of it facilitated by “El Pollo’s” close ties to El Comandante, himself. When Chavez was first elected president of the Venezuela at end-1998, he brought Carvajal into the new Bolivarian regime as a trusted collaborator and black ops specialist who carried out missions assigned by Chavez. Carvajal’s status as Chavez’s personal 007 also gave the FARC a strategically key point of direct access to Chavez, who already had met with the FARC leadership in Colombia in the mid-1990s.
No one even remotely familiar with Carvajal’s notorious career was surprised when the U.S. Treasury Department added Hugo Carvajal to its Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals List on September 12, 2008. Carvajal “materially assisted the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC in Venezuela,” the Treasury Department said. The U.S. accused Carvajal of arming, aiding, and abetting the FARC, in addition to terrorizing and kidnapping innocent civilians. Specifically, the Treasury Department claimed that Carvajal assisted the FARC by protecting drug shipments from seizure by Venezuela’s anti-narcotic authorities, provided official identification and travel documents to FARC members, and allowed the group to flourish on the Venezuelan border with Colombia’s Arauca Department
It was widely known that Carvajal and other prominent members of Venezuela’s Bolivarian armed forces, maintained longtime direct ties with the highest levels of the FARC’s leadership, including its maximum chieftain Manuel “Tirofijo” Marulanda, whose real name was Pedro Antonio Marin Marin. Carvajal’s close ties to the FARC’s leadership can be traced on the record as far back as September 23, 2004, where in a communication between Carvajal and a FARC commander “El Pollo” said he secretly hoped that the killing of six Venezuelan military members and one Venezuelan engineer on the border of Apure were “the acts of another group other than your own.” In fact, it had been the FARC who had massacred the seven Venezuelans inside Venezuelan territory. But it wasn’t until 2008 that documents retrieved from computers found near Luis Edgar Devia aka “Raul Reyes” blast-torn corpse, that Carvajal’s direct ties to Marulanda were confirmed. Reyes was killed in a precision-guided bomb attack executed by Colombian pilots flying Brazilian-made Tucanos.
The files extracted from the seized computers also showed that Carvajal aided the FARC on numerous other occasions. Carvajal provided protection for individual members of the FARC like Wilber Varela (“Jabon”), until he was assassinated on Venezuelan soil. In a message dated January 2007, Ivan Marquez – the FARC’s intermediary with the Chavez government – wrote his colleagues in Colombia that Carvajal and another Venezuelan general “are going to get us 20 bazookas next week”. In another communication with the FARC leadership, Carvajal pledged his support to connect the FARC with “a Panamanian arms dealer.”
Carvajal regularly stayed in touch with FARC members, making sure that it was “business as usual.” An investigation by Colombian magazine Semana from May 2006 claimed that interviews with members of the Venezuelan National Guard confirmed that Carvajal had direct contact with FARC leader German Briceño Suárez, a.k.a. “Grannobles.” According to Semana, Carvajal met with Grannobles and his brother, “Mono Jojoy”, in a farm in Barinas, Venezuela where the parties discussed strategies for political, military and economic co-operation between the Venezuelan government and the FARC.
Carvajal’s co-operation with the FARC has gone as far approving the assassination of two Colombian military officers on Venezuelan soil. The officers were in the process of targeting FARC operations on Venezuelan territory when they were assassinated. Carvajal approved the killings of Captain Camilo Gonzalez and Sergeant Gregorio Martinez, of the Colombian Army, after they were captured in Venezuela while secretly searching for FARC fugitives. Carvajal allegedly gave the order to torture and execute the Colombian officers as a favor to the FARC.
More confirmation of Carvajal’s narco-gangster enterprises came from fugitive Venezuelan drug kingpin, Walid Makled, during his incarceration in Cucuta in 2010. In a statement, Makled told Colombian counterdrug investigators that he was able to operate freely in Venezuela for years by paying US$1 million per month in cash bribes to Carvajal and other military and civilian officials of the Chavez regime. Makled also claimed that Carvajal had been his partner in a monumental cocaine trafficking scheme, alongside then Interior & Justice Minister, Tarek Al-Aissami and Henry Rangel Silva. Makled said he used his ownership of Venezuelan carrier Aeropostal Airlines, along with its aircraft fleet and warehouses, to export approximately 10 metric tons of cocaine per month to the U.S. and Europe for several years.
But Makled’s claims in 2010 didn’t surprise this Gringo. I wrote in 2009 that Carvajal and his former intelligence counterpart, Henry Rangel Silva, were in the “business” of providing independent contract work through their intelligence services to both FARC and ELN militant groups. Among the services provided by separate criminal crews led by Carvajal and Rangel Silva, I was able to confirm protection services for drug trans-shipments through Venezuelan territory, provision of weapons, and legal citizenship and residency documents to narco-terrorists and professional criminals. In addition to your run-of-the-mill drug trafficking, extortion, abductions and contract killings, of course.
Carvajal and Rangel Silva also have long been known to be working directly with the 10th, 16th, and 45th fronts of the FARC which have elements widely deployed across the Venezuelan states of Apure, Barinas, Tachira, and Trujillo. Through this relationship, these fronts launder money, smuggle armaments, and ship cocaine through the Venezuelan territory. In exchange for their shipment protection services, Carvajal and Rangel back were allegedly charging the FARC and other narco-traffickers a fee of US $1,500 per kilo of cocaine exported back in 2008. The duo generated a whopping US $189 million of estimated combined profit that year. But more recently the crews run by Carvajal and Rangel Silva have been taking “trans-shipment fees” in product instead of cash, and opening up independent new routes to Europe and South America much as the Mexican cartels did with the Colombian cartels almost 20 years ago.
However someone as entrepreneurial as “El Pollo” is barely content with just one shtick. In addition to his support for the FARC, Carvajal also offered use of his services to non-narco parties. By 2009, Carvajal and his criminal crews had also been implicated in other horrific crimes, including: the November 2004 car bomb assassination of Danilo Anderson, sponsored by Jose Vicente Rangel and pinned on the Guevara brothers; the abductions of Jorge Azpurua in April 2005 contracted by Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco; and subsequently the abduction of banker German Garcia Velutini in February 2009. Carvajal’s hit men also killed Pierre Gerges in 2008 after confusing him with the intended target, Reporte Diario de la Economia publisher “Tony” Gerges.
“El Pollo’s” ambitions went as far as magnicide in April 2011, when it is said that Carvajal might have used his position to try and carry out either an assassination or kidnapping attempt against Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli. According to several of the leaked diplomatic cables, Carvajal attempted to use Pedro Luis Martin Olivares, a direct subordinate of his running an intelligence operation in Panama City to carry out the assassination attempt.
Carvajal’s evident association with Leocenis Garcia, since the latter got sprung from jail, suggests he could be using his vast trove of dirt on everyone to figure out who can be extorted or perhaps even abducted for ransom. It is said that prior to his departure from the DIM, Carvajal digitized and uploaded all of the Directorates files (read: recordings, videos, criminal reports, payment of commissions, account statements, transfers, etc.) and uploaded everything to a personal cloud.
It is hard say whether Carvajal is really seeking to ultimately sell Venezuelan state secrets on the international market or trying to find an open-door in “el imperio.” It was speculated at one point in 2012 that Carvajal was preparing to follow former Supreme Court Judge Eladio Aponte Aponte’s surrender to US authorities in exchange for extensive intelligence on the narco-corruption and FARC connections at the highest levels of the Chavez regime including the now-dead president. The rumors that “El Pollo” was preparing to turn “Canary” for the hated Gringos started after Podemos (ex-MAS) Deputy Ismael Garcia declared that Carvajal and ex-Magister Marco Tulio Dugarte were going to defect.
The rumors continued after Carvajal allegedly held a party at his “hacienda” in Biruaca, apure to say goodbye to his friends.
Either way, it’s no real use speculating what this godless pact between “El Pollo” and the 6to Poder publisher might be aiming for. Perhaps Garcia’s latest crusade against David De Lima can serve to shed light on the duo’s aspirations. Seeing himself with less power every day, maybe some pressure on Tarek Al Aissami and his testaferro Samar Lopez—who is speculated to be behind the purchase of the Cadena Capriles—will help “El Pollo” get his piece in the current Venezuelan fire-sale.