Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, nicknamed El Pollo ("The Chicken") (born 1960), is a Venezuelan diplomat and retired general. He was the head of the military intelligence in Venezuela during Hugo Chávez's government, from July 2004 to December 2011. Carvajal was arrested in Spain on 12 April 2019 based on an arrest warrant from the United States for 2011 drug trafficking charges; the U.S. asked Spain to extradite Carvajal.
|Deputy of the National Assembly for Monagas|
|Assumed office |
5 January 2016
|Consul General of Venezuela in Aruba|
January 2014 – April 2014
|Director of the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence|
April 2013 – January 2014
|Preceded by||Wilfredo Figueroa Chacín|
|Succeeded by||Iván Hernández Dala|
July 2004 – December 2011
|Succeeded by||Wilfredo Figueroa Chacín|
|Deputy Director of the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence|
Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios
1 April 1960
Puerto la Cruz, Anzoátegui, Venezuela
|Political party||United Socialist Party of Venezuela (former)|
|Nickname(s)||El Pollo ("The Chicken")|
Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios was born on April 1, 1960 in Viento Fresco, a village close to Caicara de Maturín, in state of Monagas (Eastern Llanos), or in Anzoátegui state. He finished his studies at the military academy in 1981. His sister, Wilma Carvajal, is the Mayor of the Cedeño Municipality.
Carvajal met Hugo Chávez in 1980 at the military academy of Caracas, where Chávez was his instructor. Carvajal took part in the 1992 coup attempt organised by Chávez against the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez. He was detained together with Chávez and he was set free with a general amnesty that president Rafael Caldera introduced in 1994.
In September 2008, the United States Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) accused Carvajal of helping Colombian guerrilla FARC in its drug trafficking activities by protecting them from drugs seizures, supplying arms and providing with Venezuelan official documents. He was placed on the list together with Henry Rangel Silva, Director of Venezuela's Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services, who later became Minister of Defense and Governor of Trujillo and with Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, former Minister of the Interior & Security.
Carvajal was appointed head of the National Official against Organized Crime and Financing of Terrorism in October 2012. In April 2013 he was appointed as the replacement for Wilfredo Figueroa Chacín as head of the Military Counterintelligence.
Venezuela appointed Carvajal as its consul in Aruba in January 2014, however he had not been officially accepted by the Dutch government. He was arrested in Aruba on 22 July 2014 on a U.S. arrest warrant. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro protested saying Carvajal had diplomatic immunity. As a protest Venezuela closed its airspace to planes coming from Aruba and Curaçao for several hours, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. Maduro also threatened to slow down business at the Isla oil refinery on Curaçao. On July 28, he was released and flown back to Venezuela by private plane. Aruba officials declared that Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans had decided to recognize Carvajal's immunity. The Netherlands declared Carvajal persona non grata. In a public appearance Maduro stated: "We had a plan to escalate tension in Latin America".
One day after his release information was released that Venezuela had sent four military ships close to the shores of Aruba while Carvajal was detained. The United States Department of State said that it had evidence for severe threats by Venezuela against both Aruba and the Netherlands. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had contact with Venezuela about the military ships, with Venezuela stating that they were returning from an exercise. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affair also stated that Carvajal was released after strictly judicial considerations based on international law.
Carvajal is also wanted by Colombia for the torture and murder of two agents.
Support for GuaidóEdit
On 21 February 2019, during the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis, Carvajal made a video in support of Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela and criticized Nicolás Maduro's presidency. Carvajal calls for Venezuelan military forces to break ranks and to allow the shipping of humanitarian aid to Venezuela.
Maduro expelled Carvajal from the Armed Forces on 4 April, degraded his Major General status, and accused him of treason.
- "Timmermans laat drugsconsul Carvajal gaan" (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "Hugo Carvajal fue hombre de confianza de Chávez y estuvo al frente de la DIM" (in Spanish). El Nacional. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Castellanos, Silvio; Miguel Gutierrez; Andy Sullivan (12 April 2019). "Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief arrested on U.S. drug trafficking warrant". Reuters. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- "Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief arrested on U.S. drug trafficking warrant". ABC News. Associated Press. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- "Divulgación Municipales 2013" (in Spanish). CNE. 8 December 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- "Venezuela protesta por detención en Aruba del general Hugo Carvajal" (in Spanish). BBC Mundo. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- "Treasury Targets Venezuelan Government Officials Supporting the FARC". U.S. Department of the Treasury. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- "Aruba detains Venezuelan general on US drug trafficking list". BBC News. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Kejal Vyas & Juan Forero (24 July 2014). "Retired Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal Detained on U.S. Petition". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Kieran Kaal & Edwin Timmer (29 July 2014). "Aruba ontsnapt aan Venezolaanse inval" (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- Dube, Ryan; Vyas, Kejal (2019-02-21). "Venezuelan Official Breaks With Maduro". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
- Herrero, Ana Vanessa; Casey, Nicholas (2019-02-21). "Venezuela's Ex-Spy Chief Rejects Maduro, Accusing Leader's Inner Circle of Corruption". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
- "Maduro expulsó a 13 oficiales de la FAN por reconocer a Guaidó" [Maduro expels from the Armed Forces 13 officials that recognized Guaidó]. NTN24 (in Spanish). 4 April 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.