Venezuelan Rebel Arrested For Weapons Charges In U.S.

Former Major General Cíiver Alcalá has twice attempted coups against socialist President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. But now, Alcalá is incarcerated in a correctional facility in upstate New York on federal charges of giving weapons to rebels financed by drugs. If convicted, he may spend the next 30 years behind bars.

The Washington Office on Latin America’s Adam Isacson, an expert on armed warfare in the Andes, stated that punishing Alcalá severely would deter other members of the Venezuelan military, whose loyalty is essential to Maduro’s rule, from betraying him.

Isacson pointed out that the thirty years at least that prosecutors are requesting in Alcalá’s case is more than the twelve years that a group of paramilitary commanders from Colombia who were extradited to the United States in 2008 on allegations of drug trafficking spent in jail on average.

In an interview with the media, while incarcerated, 62-year-old Alcalá expressed his deepest regret. The harm he has caused his family resulted from his unwavering love for Venezuela. They are bearing the brunt of his acts, even though he accepts full responsibility for them.

In new evidence, drug traffickers who have already been sentenced claim that Alcalá, a military commander from Venezuela, used his authority to facilitate the safe transit of cocaine shipments via airports and border crossings. The prosecution asserts that he took bribes totaling millions of dollars, including $150,000 for each cocaine-laden airplane bound for Central America. The prosecution withdrew all narcotics accusations against Alcalá as part of the plea agreement, leaving just two counts of giving firearms to the foreign terror group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Some former guerrillas have vowed to remain active under the FARC banner, even though the group has formally transformed into a political party.

In 2020, Alcalá turned himself in in Colombia in response to a federal indictment that accused him, Maduro, and twelve other political and military figures of participating in a vast plot to turn Venezuela into a cocaine-supplying base for the United States.

The US government has accused them of being part of an organization they call the Cartel of the Suns, after the insignia used by senior military personnel.

The FARC often used the permeable border area of Venezuela as a sanctuary and distribution point for cocaine destined for the United States before disarming as a component of a 2016 peace agreement.