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Who Are the Leaders of the Venezuelan Dictatorship?

¿Quiénes dan las órdenes en la dictadura de Venezuela?, EFE

Esta entrada también está disponible en: Español

The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela presented this Tuesday its third report on the violation of human rights and crimes against humanity in the country.

It details the role played by the people involved in these events, who are part of the different levels of the chains of command of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service and the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence.

The Mission assures that both State security agencies are executing a plan directed by Nicolás Maduro and other high-level authorities with the objective of repressing opposition leaders.

The UN experts point out that SEBIN and DGCIM officials apply torture of extreme gravity, amounting to crimes against humanity.

“The Venezuelan State uses the intelligence services and its agents to repress dissent in the country. This leads to the commission of serious crimes and human rights violations,” states the Mission’s report.

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The UN Mission also claims to have documented the cases of 173 victims subjected to torture, sexual violence and other inhumane treatment in intelligence service headquarters.

Chain of command

Nicolás Maduro

He is considered the head of the chain of command because he is the commander in chief of the FANB. Therefore, the DGCIM is functionally and organizationally dependent on the president and the Ministry of Defense.

The report stated, based on different sources, that Maduro is the person who gives direct orders to Iván Hernández Dala, director general of the DGCIM.

These orders are transmitted in person or by telephone, but never in writing.

Iván Hernández Dala

The Major General has been in charge of the DGCIM since January 2014, replacing then general Hugo Carvajal Barrios.

The Mission assures in the report that he “increasingly” depends directly on Maduro, diminishing the participation of the Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, in commanding.

He spends part of his time in Boleíta, where the organization’s headquarters are located, and another part in the Presidential Palace of Miraflores.

¿¿Quiénes dan las órdenes en la dictadura de Venezuela?

Iván Hernández Dala. (Twitter)

Carlos Ramón Enrique Carvallo Guevara

He has held the position of deputy director of the DGCIM since August 21, 2020, replacing Major General Blanco Marrero, who obtained the designation in 2018 after General Cristopher Figuera rebelled against Nicolás Maduro.

Carvallo Guevara is a Major General. He spent several years in the Andean region of the DGCIM and he also worked in the General Inspectorate of the DGCIM.

Alexander Granko Arteaga

He has been the director of the DAE (Directorate of Special Affairs) since the end of 2017. UN experts point out that the director of the DGCIM, Hernández Dala, gives direct orders to the DAE often passing over the Special Directorate of Criminal and Criminalistic Investigations (DEIPC).

“The DAE has priority over the DEIPC to carry out investigations on real or perceived dissidents,” the report says.

Granko Arteaga has always been considered the most powerful man in the DGCIM because he acts on behalf of Hernández Dala.

The report also explains that the DAE requests support from the Bolivarian National Guard and the Bolivarian National Police -among others- in certain investigations.

A former employee of the DGCIM told the Mission that the DAE is known internally as the black hand of Hernández Dala. Other people interviewed by the Mission said that Granko Arteaga also reports directly to Nicolás Maduro.

Alexander Granko Arteaga.

Asdrúbal José Brito Hernández

He is a Lieutenant Colonel and head of the Deipc. This position was previously held by Wilman Nabor Hernández Aquino (2013-2016), Franco Quintero (2016-2018) and Hannover Esteban Guerrero Mijares (2018-2019).

Several sources referred to the Mission that in the case of political targets, President Maduro approves and sometimes also orders the detention of real and perceived opponents of the government.

“A former employee of the DGCIM told the Mission that Hernández Dala was taking the investigation reports prepared by the DEIPC to President Maduro for his approval.”

Diosdado Cabello

Several witnesses described to the Mission the influence of Diosdado Cabello, first vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, in the DGCIM’s chain of command.

Several witnesses described to the Mission the influence of Diosdado Cabello, first vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, in the DGCIM’s chain of command.

Cabello is also a deputy and head of the PSUV parliamentary faction in the National Assembly, elected in 2020.

¿Quiénes dan las órdenes en la dictadura de Venezuela?, EFE

Diosdado Cabello. (EFE)

Tareck el Aissami

The report details that reliable inside information indicates that Maduro has an inner circle of trusted advisors, among them Cabello. This is where Tareck el Aissami comes into play, as he is one of the people the official consults to give those orders.

“Decisions are then communicated up to the chain of command, leading to the commission of violations and crimes.”

El Aissami has been Minister of Petroleum since 2020. In addition, he was Vice President of the Republic and Minister for Industries and National Production of Venezuela.

¿Quiénes dan las órdenes en la dictadura de Venezuela?

Tareck el Aissami. (EFE)

Gustavo Enrique González López

In the case of the SEBIN, the Mission points to the current general director, Gustavo Enrique González López; the director of El Helicoide between 2014 and 2018, Carlos Alberto Calderón; and his number two in that period pf time, Ronny González, as the main responsible for the abuses committed in that place.

“The torture of detainees was mostly ordered by Gustavo González López and Carlos Calderón Chirinos. If the Sebin agents refused to participate in the acts of torture, Calderón Chirinos would beat them to intimidate them and to make himself respected.”

Delcy Rodríguez

The report includes the executive vice president of the country and indicates that she knew or should have known about the commission of those crimes in the SEBIN.

“Despite the fact that she had the effective authority to do so, she did not prevent the crimes and violations nor did she repress them,” it says.

«Los cubanos entrenaron, asesoraron y participaron»

Former DGCIM officials also told the Mission that the Cubans “trained, advised and participated in intelligence and counterintelligence activities with the DGCIM.”

The report notes that this collaboration dates back at least to a confidential memorandum of understanding signed in 2008 between Cuba and Venezuela that entrusted the Cuban Ministry of Defense with supervising the restructuring of the Venezuelan military intelligence services, including the creation of new bodies.

Former DGCIM employees noted that Cuban officers began conducting training at the Boleíta military academy and accompanying DGCIM officers in the regional offices and in Boleíta.

“The Cubans formulated the instructions as suggestions and not as orders, but if a DGCIM agent did not follow them he or she was marked as a person of operational interest.”

New inputs for the ICC

Ali Daniels, director of the organization Access to Justice, assured that this report of the United Nations Mission provides new inputs for the investigation of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, expected to be released since April.

He pointed out that it is a “rigorous” report that provides “inputs for the investigation carried out by the Office of the Prosecutor” of the ICC, since it “shows” that in Venezuela “the chains of command are not investigated”, due to the fact that in those events “the highest levels of the state are involved.”

“They are only limited to making, in very few cases, the material perpetrators responsible, when in reality it is a matter of state policies that have been systematically executed,” he argued.


Note: This article is part of a partnership between El American and El Nacional.

Editor’s Note: The quotes featured in this article were originally published in Spanish, then translated to English and edited for publication.

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