Venezuelan police arrest Chavez's ex-spy chief at event

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 14, 2018

Venezuelan security forces on Tuesday detained Miguel Rodriguez Torres, a former interior minister and intelligence chief who officials say was connected to armed attacks on public institutions a year ago.

"He has been captured and handed over to the justice system", read the statement. "He participated in conspiracies and plots in the pursuit of the evil intention of attacking the monolithic unity of our armed forces", a statement said.

Rodriguez, an army major-general who served under late leader Hugo Chavez as well as current president Nicolas Maduro, was arrested during an event at the President Hotel in Caracas by agents from the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, or Sebin.

Following the attacks, Maduro said the former pilot worked for Rodriguez Torres, who is being investigated for ties to the DEA and Central Intelligence Agency.

Maduro, who is seeking re-election amid an economic collapse that has sent a tide of migrants to neighboring countries, has asked the United Nations to send observers to the vote. For over a year, he has been quietly building a movement to challenge Maduro in presidential elections, but earlier this year was barred from holding office for 12 months on what supporters call trumped-up charges of not presenting a sworn affidavit declaring his assets and income.

With deep ties to the military, traditionally the arbiter of political disputes in Venezuela, Rodriguez Torres has managed to distinguish himself from other former government loyalists on the left even while, until now, evading arrest or prosecution like many of Maduro's conservative opponents.

Former Venezuelan interior minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly plotting to divide the armed forces, the government said.

The statement from Maduro's government announcing Rodriguez Torres' arrest repeated claims that he had been fired as minister for allegedly having ties to USA intelligence agencies.

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