HomeNewsBriefChavez Appoints Defense Minister Accused Of Drug Ties
BRIEF

Chavez Appoints Defense Minister Accused Of Drug Ties

FARC / 9 JAN 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has appointed General Henry Rangel Silva, a man accused by the US of having ties to Colombian guerilla group the FARC, as the country's new defense minister.

Rangel, a longtime ally of Chavez who participated in the failed coup in 1992, was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in 2008 for allegedly helping the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to smuggle cocaine through Venezuela. At the time he was head of military intelligence, before becoming second-in-command of Venezuela's armed forces in November 2010.

In addition to his supposed ties to the FARC, analysts and political opponents in Venezuela fear that his appointment points to a tightening of Chavez's grip on power, in light of Rangel's statements last year that the armed forces were "married to the socialist political project," and would not accept any other government

This latest appointment comes amidst a cabinet reshuffle that will see several key ministers moved prior to the October presidential elections to allow them to run for governorships in December's regional elections.

InSight Crime Analysis

Rangel's insertion into the cabinet is a product of Chavez's determination to hold on to power in 2012's elections. It suggests that Chavez is unlikely to take steps to tackle corruption and links to the drug trade in his military. As InSight Crime recently noted, Chavez relies heavily on key military officials within his government, precluding serious efforts to purge and reform the institution.

The choice of a man who has been publicly sanctioned by Washington indicates that the president is not planning to deepen cooperation with US anti-drug operations in the near future.

Rangel's appointment could be good news for the FARC, whose new leader is thought to be at least partly based over the border in Venezuela, signalling that the government does not plan to work closely with Colombia to fight the rebels.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 25 SEP 2012

They say that during the worst times, between 1999 and 2002, when right-wing paramilitaries who went by their acronym the…

BRAZIL / 26 SEP 2019

Members of Venezuela's large and dangerous Tren del Aragua gang are actively trying to expand their group's influence in the…

SECURITY POLICY / 22 OCT 2014

In an effort to improve citizen security, Venezuela plans to install radars that detect gunshots and drones equipped with video…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…