The man who should know everything



Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios (Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, 1960) Didn’t get the radical cosmetic surgery that the US Drug Enforcement Agency feared (DEA) while he was on the run. He continues to respond to the profile of a middle-aged man, like his height, and little hair already but gray. His lawyer told the press one day that during the year and 10 months that he was fled from justice to avoid his extradition to the United States he had taken on some weight. Physically, at least, he would not be called fat. Another thing is if it is the position he held.

After a long military career he became a Major General, which is little more than a step away from the

highest military rank, reserved for the president of Venezuela. Under the command of Hugo Chávez, he was director of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), since he did not revalidate later with Nicolás Maduro. This body is charged with all kinds of rights violations, from persecuting opponents to arrests illegal, torture and murder. Hence, in Venezuela it has as many followers as detractors. He was always a controversial and well-known figure and the nickname of El Pollo that his colleagues at the military academy gave him helped. In fact, it has, so to speak, its own divorce law. The dispute with his first wife for the separation was the first on this matter that forced the Constitutional Court of Venezuela to rule, which had never before issued doctrine in relation to divorce. The sentence, consulted by ABC, establishes that the mere expression of the will of one of the spouses is sufficient for the marriage to be liquidated. It is seen that before it was not so clear.

For divorces, yours regarding Venezuela when it left at the beginning of 2019 slamming the door, or, what is the same, proclaiming that he supported Juan Guaidó. He says that it was not a change of opinion, that his commitment was with Venezuelans and he saw that Nicolas Maduro, no. He had been in high positions with him for six years.

Carvajal has served two presidents of the republic. He met Hugo Chávez during his time at the military academy and ended up participating with him in a coup in the early 1990s that earned him time in prison. Under his shelter, he was recognized and held different positions of responsibility until he reached the DGCIM. To this day, he still professes respect and loyalty to him, not to his successor. At the beginning he placed him in high positions and with advisory roles, which was undermining their relationship. In 2014, Maduro’s prize was to get him out of the way for good: he would be the new consul in Aruba, a Dutch-flagged paradise off the Venezuelan coast. The expedition did not go well, the United States asked the Netherlands for his extradition and he was arrested. The pressure of Venezuela on the islands and the argument that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity freed him from that, but he began to prepare and commissioned very expensive legal advice to guide him on his possibilities in the face of the US attempt to extradite him. Of those sludge, the process that is now being followed in Spain.

Here he came undercover, with a false identity that scratches the eccentricity – «José Mouriño»– and it is presumed that with an arsenal of information under his arm that would give him some peace. It remains to be seen if it is of any use to him because yes, it is the man who was there, next to Chávez, who should have known everything. But he is in the position of having to prove it before a judge, especially if he wants to avoid, this time without running away, the delivery to the United States.

It has reached this point after the US authorities’ extradition order landed in the National Court in 2019. The charge, narco-terrorism. From the rich neighborhood of Madrid that he chose for himself and his family, he had to move to prison, from there to freedom, and then on the run to avoid surrender and “buy time,” he told ABC. A year and ten months have passed and more will elapse until the shadows surrounding all that are cleared up, but the first question has to be cleared up in less than a month: it says that it is useful to Spanish justice, that it has a lot to contribute, that there are serious facts to be clarified. But he has to show that he is not just an ordeal. In the National Court they are still waiting.

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