(CNN Español)– The Criminal Chamber of the National Court of Spain decided this Friday to suspend the extradition of the former director of intelligence of Venezuela, Hugo Carvajal, to the United States.
The magistrates of the court responded to a request from Carvajal’s defense arguing that the plenary session of the Criminal Chamber did not comply with a procedure of the judicial decision that authorizes the extradition of the Venezuelan.
Hugo ‘Pollo’ Carvajal was Hugo Chávez’s trusted man and one of his closest collaborators. After a long journey, he was arrested in Spain and was waiting to be extradited to the United States, where he faces drug trafficking charges.
The charges against you
In September 2008, the Treasury Department sanctioned Carvajal on charges that he protected drug shipments from the demobilized FARC guerrillas and provided the group with weapons. According to the US agency, Carvajal also provided Venezuelan identity documents to Colombian guerrillas so that they could travel to Venezuela with ease.
According to the State Department, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged him in March 2020 with conspiracy to commit narco-terrorism, conspiracy to import cocaine and other charges related to firearms.
In 2019 he had been indicted in the same district on the same charges, and in 2011 for conspiracy to import cocaine charges. He was also indicted for this last charge in 2014 in the Southern District of Florida.
Who is Carvajal
Carvajal was a key figure in Chavismo. His link with the late leader of Venezuela dates back to 1992, the year in which both participated in an attempted coup against then-President Carlos Andrés Pérez and ended up in prison.
Between 2004 and 2011, when Chávez was in power, Carvajal was in charge of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence of Venezuela. In 2004, he also joined the DISIP, the political police at that time, and later became deputy minister of the Integrated Criminal Investigation System, a position that depended on the Ministry of the Interior and Justice.
After leaving the intelligence department, the retired soldier was a deputy in the National Assembly for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the ruling party.
In 2014, Carvajal’s responsibilities passed to the diplomatic sphere: the government of the questioned President Nicolás Maduro appointed him consul in Aruba. There they came to arrest him, but later they recognized his diplomatic immunity and released him.
El Pollo publicly broke with Nicolás Maduro in 2019 and recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela.