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 / 16 NOV 2010

The Colombian daily El Tiempo reports that elements of the Colombian Army, Police and Air Force carried out a…

HOMICIDES / 8 JAN 2017

Venezuela is likely the second most dangerous nation on earth, and with the situation of political, economic and social crisis…

COLOMBIA / 18 MAR 2013

Colombian authorities have confiscated nearly 4 tons of cocaine that they say was produced by the FARC, which would…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.