Diosdado Cabello Rondón (born 15 April 1963) is a Venezuelan politician, member of the National Assembly of Venezuela and a former Speaker of the country's legislature, and active member of the Venezuelan armed forces. He was involved in Hugo Chávez’s return to power after the 2002 coup d'état. He became a leading member of Chavez’s Movimiento V República (MVR), and remains a leading member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, into which MVR was merged in 2007. Governor of Miranda from 2004 to 2008, he lost the 2008 election to Henrique Capriles Radonski and was subsequently appointed Public Works & Housing Minister. In November 2009, he was additionally appointed head of the National Commission of Telecom, a position traditionally independent from the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. In 2010, he was elected a member of parliament by his home state of Monagas. In 2011, President Hugo Chávez named him Vice-President of Venezuela’s ruling party, the PSUV. In 2012, he was elected and sworn in as President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, the country’s parliament.
Cabello in 2013.
|President of the Constituent Assembly|
|Assumed office |
19 June 2018
|Preceded by||Delcy Rodríguez|
|Vice President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela|
|Assumed office |
11 December 2011
|President||Hugo Chávez |
|Preceded by||Position established|
|President of Venezuela|
13 April 2002 – 14 April 2002
|Preceded by||Pedro Carmona (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Hugo Chávez|
|Vice President of Venezuela|
13 January 2002 – 28 April 2002
|Preceded by||Adina Bastidas|
|Succeeded by||José Vicente Rangel|
|6th President of the National Assembly|
5 January 2012 – 5 January 2016
|Preceded by||Fernando Soto Rojas|
|Succeeded by||Henry Ramos Allup|
|Governor of Miranda|
|Preceded by||Enrique Mendoza|
|Succeeded by||Henrique Capriles Radonski|
|Minister of Interior and Justice|
28 April 2002 – 10 January 2003
|Preceded by||Ramón Rodríguez Chacín|
|Succeeded by||Lucas Rincón Romero|
|Born||15 April 1963|
El Furrial, Monagas, Venezuela
Early life and educationEdit
Diosdado Cabello was born in El Furrial, in the state of Monagas. His background is in engineering. He has an undergraduate degree in systems engineering from the Instituto Universitario Politécnico de las Fuerzas Armadas Nacionales and a graduate degree in engineering project management from the Andrés Bello Catholic University.
During Chávez’s abortive coup d'état of February 1992, Cabello led a group of four tanks to attack Miraflores Palace. Cabello was jailed for his participation in the coup, though President Rafael Caldera, who had prior knowledge of the coup, later pardoned him with the rest of the coup participants and Cabello was released after only two years without any charges.
Following Chávez’s 1998 electoral victory, he helped set up the pro-Chávez grassroots civil society organizations known as "Bolivarian Circles" which have been compared to Cuba's Committees for the Defence of the Revolution and are parent organizations for the Colectivos. He was head of telecoms regulator Conatel during the time the market was opened to competition. In May 2001, he became Chavez' chief of staff, and was appointed Vice President by President Hugo Chávez on 13 January 2002, replacing Adina Bastidas. As such, he was responsible to both the president and the National Assembly, and for the relations between the executive and legislative branches of the government.
On 13 April 2002, he took on the duties of the presidency on a temporary basis, replacing Pedro Carmona, head of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, as interim president during the coup d'état attempt when Chávez was kept prisoner and was consequently absent from office. Upon taking office, Cabello said that "I, Diosdado Cabello, am assuming the presidency until such time as the president of the republic, Hugo Chávez Frías, appears." A few hours later, Chávez was back in office. This made Cabello’s presidency the world’s second briefest, after that of Mexican President Pedro Lascuráin.
|Miranda State Governor Election, 2008 Results|
Source: CNE data
In October 2004, Cabello was elected to a four-year term as Governor of Miranda State. He lost the 2008 election to Henrique Capriles Radonski, and was subsequently appointed Public Works & Housing Minister. In November 2009 he was additionally appointed head of Conatel.
Cabello was appointed president of the National Assembly in early 2012 and was re-elected to that post in January 2013.
Cabello has his own weekly program on Venezolana de Televisión, Con el Mazo Dando (Hitting with the Sledge Hammer). In that program, Cabello talks about the government's view on many political issues and presents accusations against the opposition. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has expressed concerns about how the program has intimidated people that went to the IACHR denouncing the government. Some Venezuelan commentators have compared the use of illegally recorded private conversations on programs such as Cabello's to the practices in place in the German Democratic Republic as shown in the film The Life of Others.
Amnesty International has denounced the way in which Cabello has revealed details on the travel arrangements of two human rights defenders in his program and how he routinely shows state monitoring of people that may disagree with the government.
Cabello was nicknamed "the octopus" for having "tentacles everywhere". He is very influential in the Venezuelan government, using a network of patronage throughout the military, ministries and pro-government militias.
Information presented to the United States State Department by Stratfor claimed that Cabello was "head of one of the major centers of corruption in Venezuela." A Wikileaked U.S. Embassy cable from 2009 characterized Cabello as a “major pole” of corruption within the regime, describing him as “amassing great power and control over the regime’s apparatus as well as a private fortune, often through intimidation behind the scenes.” The communiqué likewise created speculation that “Chavez himself might be concerned about Cabello's growing influence but unable to diminish it.” He is described by a contributor to The Atlantic as the "Frank Underwood" of Venezuela under whose watch the National Assembly of Venezuela has made a habit of ignoring constitutional hurdles entirely—at various times preventing opposition members from speaking in session, suspending their salaries, stripping particularly problematic legislators of parliamentary immunity, and, on one occasion, even presiding over the physical beating of unfriendly lawmakers while the assembly was meeting.
Cabello has been accused on several occasions of nepotism. His wife, Marlenys Contreras, served as a member of the National Assembly until she became minister of tourism in 2015. Cabello’s sister, Glenna, is a political scientist and current Counsellor of the Venezuelan Permanent Mission to the United Nations. His brother, José David, previously minister of infrastructure, was later in charge of the nation’s taxes as head of SENIAT, Venezuela’s revenue service. Now José David is minister of Industries.
Allegations of corruption involving Cabello includes being head of an international drug trafficking organization, accepting bribes from Derwick Associates for public works projects in Venezuela, using nepotism to reward friends and family members and directing colectivos while paying them with funds from Petróleos de Venezuela. In 2013, there were at least 17 formal corruption allegations lodged against Cabello in Venezuela's prosecutors office.
On 27 January 2015, reports accusing Cabello of drug trafficking emerged. In a series of investigations by the United States government, it was stated that Cabello's alleged involvement in the drug trade as the "capo" [sic] (head) of the Cartel of the Suns (Spanish Cartél de los soles), had also involved high-ranking generals of Venezuelan military. Cabello has also been accused by the Human Rights Foundation president of corruption and drug trafficking.
Assassination plot targeting Marco RubioEdit
In mid-July 2017, reporters in Washington, D.C. observed an increased security presence surrounding United States Senator Marco Rubio. A month later on 13 August 2017, The Miami Herald reported that Diosdado Cabello had initiated an assassination plot targeting Rubio, allegedly contacting Mexican nationals to discuss killing Rubio. Rubio, who is a critic of the Venezuelan government, has led an effort in the United States government to take action against corrupt officials of the Latin American government, often singling out Cabello. The Department of Homeland Security could not verify all of the details involved in the threat, though the plan was serious enough that multiple law enforcement agencies were contacted about the incident and Rubio's security detail had increased in size.
On 28 March 2018, Cabello was sanctioned by Switzerland due to "human rights violations and the deterioration of the rule of law and democratic institutions", freezing their funds and banning them from entering Switzerland.
On 29 March 2018, Cabello was sanctioned by the Panamanian government for his alleged involvement with "money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction".
On 22 January 2018, Cabello and 6 other Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations were sanctioned by the European Union.
On 18 May 2018, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury placed sanctions in effect against Cabello, his wife, his brother and his "testaferro" Rafael Sarria. OFAC stated that Cabello and others used their power within the Bolivarian government "to personally profit from extortion, money laundering, and embezzlement", with Cabello allegedly directing drug trafficking activities with Vice President of Venezuela, Tareck El Aissami while dividing profits with President Nicolás Maduro. The Office also stated that Cabello would use public information to track wealth individuals who were potentially drug trafficking and steal their drugs and property in order to get rid of potential competition.
As a result of the sanctions, reports estimate that approximately $800 million worth of assets were frozen by the United States government. Cabello denied the reports, stating that it would be foolish to have assets located in a place where they could be seized.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2009-01-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)"Chavez Dismisses Vice President," Associated Press, Jan 13, 2002.
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- Program site
- Venezuelan officials suspected of turning the country into global cocaine hub (Wall Street Journal)
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- La Vida de los Otros (El Nacional) Archived 2015-06-21 at the Wayback Machine
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- "The Billion-dollar Fraud". The Economist. 10 August 2013.
- Los dueños de la revolución (El Mundo, Spain)
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- "Assembly Hears Report from Sixth Committee". United Nations News and Media. 6 December 2010. Archived from the original on 7 January 2013.
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- "NC COMMAND ATTACKS CRIMINAL TEAM: Diosdado Cabello-Freddy Bernal-Eliezer Otaiza". Ahora Vision. 29 March 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
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- "El jefe de seguridad del número dos chavista deserta a EE.UU. y le acusa de narcotráfico". ABC (Spain). 27 January 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Antonio Maria Delgado (26 January 2015). "Identifican a Diosdado Cabello como jefe del Cartel de los Soles". El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- "Jefe de seguridad de Cabello habría huido a EE.UU. para acusarle de narcotráfico, según ABC". NTN24. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Supuesta investigación señala que Diosdado Cabello sería jefe de cartel de narcotráfico
- Diosdado Cabello y el “Cartel de los Soles”
- Cartel de los Soles: Las rutas del narco de Diosdado
- Presidente de Human Rights Foundation denuncia por corrupción a Diosdado Cabello
- Mazzei, Patricia (13 August 2017). "Powerful Venezuelan lawmaker may have issued death order against Rubio". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
- "Venezuela sanctions". Government of Canada. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
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- "Estos son los funcionarios chavistas que sancionó el gobierno de Suiza". El Nacional (in Spanish). 28 March 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
- "Estos son los 55 "rojitos" que Panamá puso en la mira por fondos dudosos | El Cooperante". El Cooperante (in Spanish). 2018-03-29. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
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- "Treasury Targets Influential Former Venezuelan Official and His Corruption Network". Office of Foreign Assets Control. United States Department of the Treasury. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- "Report: U.S. confiscated $800 million from top Venezuelan official". The Miami Herald. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
Adina Bastidas Ramírez
| Vice President of Venezuela
13 January 2002 – 28 April 2002
José Vicente Rangel Vale
| President of Venezuela
13 April 2002 – 14 April 2002
Ramón Rodríguez Chacín
| Minister of Interior and Justice
May 2002 – January 2003
Lucas Rincón Romero
| Governor of Miranda
Henrique Capriles Radonski
Fernando Soto Rojas
| President of the National Assembly
Henry Ramos Allup