Thursday, January 29, 2015
Ex Venezuelan security chief says Chávez died on December 2012
Venezuelan President Chavez wears army uniform on the third anniversary of his return to power.
Former bodyguard of Venezuela’s Socialist Party heavyweight Diosdado Cabello Leamsy Salazar – who fled the Caribbean country earlier this week and was reportedly collaborating with US authorities investigating allegations of Venezuelan officials' involvement in drugs -, said late president Hugo Chávez did not die on March 5 2013 but on December 30 2012.
Ex ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAE) Guillermo Cochez said today Salazar told officials in the US that the Venezuelan government covered the death of Chávez that took place on December 30 2012 at 7.32 pm, prompting new accusations against the administration of Nicolás Maduro: if Salazar’s statements are true and Hugo Chávez died at that time, Venezuelan authorities would have signed several decrees under the name of the late socialist leader.
On Tuesday, Venezuelan officials confirmed defection of Salazar but denied media reports his evidence to US investigators implicated the powerful official in running a drug ring.
A ruling party legislator confirmed the defection of a former security agent for Cabello, a powerful and combative ex-soldier who heads the National Assembly and is the ruling party's No. 2.
"He deserted from the armed forces in December and has emerged in the United States as a protected witness to defame, insult, and submit to public scorn the National Assembly's president," said Congressman Pedro Carreno, flanked by fellow legislators.
Nicolás Maduro's government leapt to the defense of Cabello, saying international media in cahoots with the United States were out to smear Venezuela.
"Imperialist hands are behind this," Maduro said in a speech on Tuesday evening, referring to the claims against Cabello. "A hell of solitude awaits whoever betrays the revolution."
The article, citing unnamed sources close to a US investigation, said Salazar, who apparently worked for the late Hugo Chávez for nearly a decade, has evidence about Cabello's role as head of an alleged military-run "Sun Cartel."
Venezuelan officials have repeatedly denied accusations that such a cartel exists and demanded that evidence be shown.
US officials, domestic political opponents and some foreign media have long accused Venezuela's military of colluding with traffickers and allege that President Maduro's socialist government is, at the very least, turning a blind eye to the nation's cocaine trade.
Maduro, elected in 2013 to replace Chávez, denies that, depicting the claims as a campaign to besmirch his leftist government, and justify aggression and coup-plotting.
The Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald, which like ABC takes a hostile line against Venezuela's government, also reported Salazar has turned on his former boss and is collaborating with US investigators, again citing anonymous sources.
"Every attack against me strengthens my spirit and commitment," Cabello tweeted, thanking supporters for messages of support. "We have lived through threats, infamies and intrigues during these years of revolution."