HomeNewsBriefFormer Officials Allege 'Cartel War' in Venezuelan Military
BRIEF

Former Officials Allege 'Cartel War' in Venezuelan Military

VENEZUELA / 10 MAY 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

Allegations of high-level corruption in Venezuela continue to mount, with two former government officials alleging that rival drug trafficking factions are battling within the upper levels of the Venezuelan security forces.

In a May 9 interview with Miami-based SoiTV, former Supreme Court Justice Luis Velasquez Alvaray claimed that elements of the Venezuelan military leadership is heavily involved in drug trafficking, and said there may be “a war among cartels” brewing in the armed forces. Among the most powerful, according to him, is the “Cartel de los Soles” (Cartel of the Suns), a shadowy group of drug traffickers in the military which allegedly includes generals.

Valasquez claimed that the April 23 murder of retired General Wilmer Antonio Moreno was related to his knowledge of criminal activity, and fingered General Cliver Alcalay, head of the Army's 4th Armored Division, as one of those responsible for the killing.

The assertion that Moreno was killed by criminal elements in the military was supported by recent remarks that the former head of anti-drug agency CONACUID Mildred Camero recently made to El Universal. Camero also insinuated that the same elements were behind the March 24 shooting of the former governor of Apure state Jesus Aguilarte, and said both were proof of an conflict among Venezuelan security forces involved in drug trafficking.

InSight Crime Analysis

If these allegations prove true, and high level military officials in Venezuela are indeed taking part in drug-fueled conflicts in the country, it could be extremely harmful to President Hugo Chavez’s public image. Chavez has previously laughed off allegations of drug trafficking in the military as propaganda designed to discredit him, but with two former government officials making open accusations against current military members, they are becoming harder to dismiss. The charges would also be deeply damaging to Chavez considering his public stance against rising insecurity in the country. If it emerges that he may have had knowledge that figures in the military were contributing to the violence, he will face difficulty winning the upcoming October elections.

However, these accusations must be taken with a grain of salt, much like the recent accusations made by former Supreme Court judge Eladio Aponte. All of these ex-officials have an axe to grind, and an interest in casting the Chavez administration as deeply infiltrated by criminals. Both Aponte and Alvaray are in exile (Aponte in the US and Alvaray in Costa Rica), and face corruption charges against them in Venezuela. Moreno had a falling out with Chavez in 2005, and has since been a major critic of the government.

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.

Tags

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

COVID AND CRIME / 12 MAY 2020

In mid-March, alarms were being raised about how vulnerable Venezuelan prisoners were to the spread of the coronavirus and the…

ALFONSO CANO / 26 APR 2011

With a British think tank set to publish a WikiLeaks-style database of unedited computer documents seized from the camp of…

BOLIVIA / 27 MAY 2013

Bolivia has turned to Venezuela as it continues its search for partners to replace the United States in providing anti-drug…

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…