by Weekly News Update on the Americas
Investigators probing the Nov. 18 car bomb assassination of Venezuelan state prosecutor Danilo Anderson have found telephone records suggesting that the killing was planned at a meeting in Miami this past September. One of the participants at the meeting was Jose Augustin Guevara, a brother of ex-police agents Otoniel and Rolando Guevara, who were arrested on Nov. 26 on charges of "premeditated homicide" and conspiracy in the Anderson murder. Otoniel Guevara is accused of being an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). A cousin of the three brothers, Juan Bautista Guevara, is suspected of having planted the bomb on Anderson’s car. Eyewitnesses place him at the scene shortly before Anderson’s car exploded.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Jose Guevara in Miami in 2001 when he attempted to withdraw funds from a bank account belonging to Peru’s then-fugitive spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos Torres, who was wanted in Peru in connection with corruption and human rights abuses. The FBI then released Jose Guevara into its witness protection program. The Guevara brothers are said to have been paid $1 million for hiding Montesinos in Venezuela. Montesinos was arrested in Caracas on June 24, 2001. Venezuelan government spokespeople have also accused Florida-based rightwing Cuban-American Rodolfo Fromenta, head of the anti-Castro paramilitary group Comandos F-4, of links to the Anderson murder.
Venezuela’s Attorney General’s Office has taken over the investigation of the Anderson murder after concerns were raised about irregularities in the probe conducted by agents from the Scientific Criminal Investigations Corps (CICPC), including links between the Guevara brothers and the CICPC. (Venezuelanalysis.com, Dec. 2; El Nuevo Herald, Miami, Dec. 1; La Republica, Lima, Nov. 27) On Nov. 26, CICPC agents fatally shot lawyer Antonio Lopez, a possible suspect in the Anderson case, in an alleged gunfight. The same day, former police agent Juan Carlos Sanchez, also wanted in connection with the Anderson killing, died in a confrontation with police. Both Lopez and Sanchez were linked to the Guevara brothers. Authorities later raided Lopez’s home and said they found high-powered weapons and explosives. (AFP, Nov. 26; NYT, Nov. 24)
At the time of his death, Anderson was heading up investigations into some 400 opposition figures for possible involvement in an April 2002 coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias or other destabilization attempts against the government. On Nov. 26, two of the men Anderson was investigating sought asylum in the Salvadoran embassy in Caracas. Lazaro Forero and Henry Vivas, former chiefs of the Caracas Metropolitan Police, were arrested by Venezuelan authorities on Dec. 3 after the Salvadoran government turned down their request for asylum. The two are accused of responsibility for violence which killed 20 people and wounded dozens more at an opposition march in Caracas on Apr. 11, 2002. Opposition forces used the violence as a pretext for their coup attempt against Chavez the next day. (BBC, Reuters, Dec. 3)
Another two opposition figures who were under investigation by Anderson, former Venezuelan national guard officers Jose Antonio Colina and German Rodolfo Varela, appeared in their final US asylum hearing on Nov. 29 at the Krome detention center in West Miami-Dade. The two sought asylum in the US on Dec. 19 of last year; they are accused in Venezuela of bombing the Colombian and Spanish diplomatic missions in Caracas on Feb. 25, 2003. At the Nov. 29 hearing, US prosecutors told Immigration Judge Neale Foster that neither Colina nor Varela deserve asylum because they fled to evade prosecution–not persecution. Attorneys for the two men blasted US prosecutors for allegedly favoring Chavez, and accused Foster of bias. Foster ordered closing arguments in writing by Jan. 14, promised to weigh the evidence fairly and said he would issue a ruling early next year. (Miami Herald, Dec. 1)
Venezuelan actor and anti-Chavez activist Orlando Urdaneta, interviewed in October on a Miami television station, urged that efficient commandos be hired to assassinate Chavez and his associates in Venezuela. The interviewer, Maria Elvira Salazar, suggested to Urdaneta that the commandos would ideally be Israeli; Urdaneta agreed. On Nov. 25, the Israeli embassy denied any connection with sectors trying to destabilize the Venezuelan government, and denied that any Israelis were involved with the Anderson assassination. (EFE, Nov. 29, Newsday, Nov. 20)
Newly declassified intelligence documents have confirmed that the CIA was aware that dissident military officers and opposition figures in Venezuela were planning a coup against Chavez in 2002. In a senior intelligence executive brief dated April 6 of that year, the CIA said that "disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chavez, possibly as early as this month." The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Jeremy Bigwood, a freelance investigative reporter in Washington. In interviews with the New York Times and other news organizations in the days after the April 12 coup, administration officials vigorously denied having had advance knowledge of plans to oust Chavez, who regained power on April 14. (NYT,. Dec. 3)
On Nov. 22, the foreign minister of Spain’s socialist government, Miguel Angel Moratinos, criticized the rightwing government of former Spanish president Jose Maria Aznar for supporting the coup in Venezuela. On Dec. 1, Moratinos reiterated his accusations but apologized for having made them in the wrong place and at an "inappropriate" time. While Aznar didn’t instigate or help plan the coup, he also "didn’t condemn the coup d’etat, endorsed it and offered it international legitimacy," Moratinos charged. (AFP, Dec. 1)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 5
See also WW3 REPORT #103
The CIA documents are online at: http://www.venezuelafoia.info/
Reprinted by WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution