Overview: In May 2010, for the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. Department of State determined that Venezuela was not cooperating fully with U.S. antiterrorism efforts pursuant to section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act. Throughout the year, President Chavez rejected allegations that he or his government supported terrorism and instead accused the United States of sponsoring terrorism. Several times during the year, the Colombian government publicly accused the Venezuelan government of harboring members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) on its territory. It alleged that these groups used Venezuelan territory to rest and regroup, engage in narcotics trafficking, and extort protection money and kidnap Venezuelans to finance their operations. In a July 22 special session of OAS Permanent Council, the Colombian Permanent Representative presented alleged evidence of FARC training camps in Venezuela and proposed an international verification commission to investigate the presence of FARC and ELN members in Venezuela.

In response to these charges, the Venezuelan government broke diplomatic relations with Colombia, and on July 25, President Chavez denied that "a foreign paramilitary or military guerrilla force has taken over even the smallest millimeter squared of our sovereign territory." On August 10, newly-inaugurated Colombian President Juan Manual Santos and President Chavez met in Santa Marta, Colombia, and announced the restoration of diplomatic relations, including the establishment of a bilateral commission with five working groups, including one on security. Since then, there have been ministerial-level meetings to discuss bilateral security issues.

During the year, the Spanish government asked Venezuela for information regarding allegations that it was providing support to Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA). Although President Chavez initially said that Venezuela "has nothing to explain," the two governments later issued a statement that "condemned terrorism in all its forms" and promised police and judicial cooperation. There was no information publicly available about the results of that cooperation.

In October, the Spanish government requested the extradition of Arturo Cubillas Fontan, a naturalized Venezuelan citizen and employee of the Venezuelan National Land Institute, on several charges, including murder, in connection with an ongoing investigation in Spain about ETA-FARC links in Venezuela. Two former ETA members accused Cubillas in a Spanish court of having given training to ETA members in weapons and explosives in an undisclosed training camp in Venezuela in 2008. President Chavez "dismissed and denied" the accusations on October 4, 2010, which he claimed were the result of a "permanent international conspiracy" against his "Bolivarian revolution." The Venezuelan prosecutor general said the constitution prohibited the extradition of Venezuelan nationals.

The Venezuelan government took no action against government and military officials linked to the FARC or ELN. General Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, who was designated by the United States in September 2008 for materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC, remained Director of the Military Intelligence Directorate. In November, President Chavez promoted another official also designated by the United States in 2008 for materially assisting the FARC, Henry Rangel Silva, Chief of the Armed Force's Strategic Operation Command, to the four-star equivalent General in Chief. The prosecutor general also awarded Rangel Silva with a Citizen's Merit Medal for his "service in defense of the interests of the country and the constitution."

President Chavez has continued to strengthen Venezuela's relationship with state sponsor of terrorism Iran. In October 2010, President Chavez met President Ahmadinejad during a two-day visit to Iran. During the visit, Chavez condemned international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program and signed cooperation agreements in areas including oil and gas, trade, and construction.

We remain concerned about Hizballah's fundraising activities in Venezuela.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Government of Venezuela took the following actions in connection with individuals allegedly connected to terrorist organizations:

  • In July, Venezuelan officials arrested and extradited the Salvadoran Francisco Chavez Abarca in connection with the bombings of Cuban hotels in 1997.

  • On November 17, the Venezuelan government extradited to Colombia two suspected members of the ELN and one of the FARC.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Venezuela is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and its Financial Intelligence Unit is a member of the Egmont Group; it also participates in the Money Laundering Experts Working Group of the OAS Inter-American Commission on Drug Abuse Control. In March, Venezuela hosted a five-day CFATF training workshop on "The Legal Framework against Money Laundering."

Regional and International Cooperation: As a member of the Union of South American Nations, Venezuela publicly condemned the terrorist action of those behind the August 12 car bomb attack in Bogota, Colombia.

[1] Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montréal-London-Delhi route. On June 23, 1985, it was blown up by a bomb while in Irish airspace and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 329 people, including 280 Canadian citizens, mostly of Indian birth or descent, and 22 Indians. The incident was the largest mass murder in modern Canadian history and the deadliest act of air terrorism before 9/11.


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