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

COLECTIVOS / 28 OCT 2014

Venezuela's interior minister has been replaced, leading some to question whether it may have been due to pressure from a…

ELITES AND CRIME / 22 FEB 2017

Over the past two weeks, a familiar narrative has been resuscitated: the threat of "Islamic terrorism" emanating…

EL KOKI / 22 FEB 2021

Recent shootouts between security forces and Venezuela's El Coqui gang included a clash in which at least two dozen people…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…