Friday, September 12, 2008

Venezuelan Officials Support FARC

September 12, 2008
HP-1132

Treasury Targets Venezuelan Government Officials Supporting the FARC

Washington, DC--The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated two senior Venezuelan government officials, Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios and Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva, and one former official, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, for materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a narco-terrorist organization.

"Today's designation exposes two senior Venezuelan government officials and one former official who armed, abetted, and funded the FARC, even as it terrorized and kidnapped innocents," said Adam J. Szubin, Director of OFAC. "This is OFAC's sixth action in the last ten months against the FARC. We will continue to target and isolate those individuals and entities that aid the FARC's deadly narco-terrorist activities in the Americas."

Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios is the Director of Venezuela's Military Intelligence Directorate (DGIM).  His assistance to the FARC includes protecting drug shipments from seizure by Venezuelan anti-narcotics authorities and providing weapons to the FARC, allowing them to maintain their stronghold of the coveted Arauca Department.   Arauca, which is located on the Colombia/Venezuela border, is known for coca cultivation and cocaine production.  Carvajal Barrios also provides the FARC with official Venezuelan government identification documents that allow FARC members to travel to and from Venezuela with ease. 

Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva, the Director of Venezuela's Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services or DISIP, is in charge of intelligence and counterintelligence activities for the Venezuelan government.   Rangel Silva has materially assisted the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC.  He has also pushed for greater cooperation between the Venezuelan government and the FARC.

Ramon Emilio Rodriguez Chacin, who was Venezuela's Minister of Interior and Justice until September 8, is the Venezuelan government's main weapons contact for the FARC. The FARC uses its proceeds from narcotics sales to purchase weapons from the Venezuelan government.  Rodriguez Chacin has held numerous meetings with senior FARC members, one of which occurred at the Venezuelan government's Miraflores Palace in late 2007.  Rodriguez Chacin has also assisted the FARC by trying to facilitate a $250 million dollar loan from the Venezuelan government to the FARC in late 2007.  We cannot confirm whether the loan materialized.

On May 29, 2003, President George W. Bush identified the FARC as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker, or drug kingpin, pursuant to the Kingpin Act. In 2001, the State Department designated the FARC as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224, and in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

This OFAC action continues ongoing efforts under the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide.  In addition to the 75 drug kingpins that have been designated by the President, 460 businesses and individuals have been designated pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000. 

Today's action freezes any assets the designated entities and individuals may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions involving those assets. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,075,000 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000,000. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10,000,000. Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code.

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