Spain rejects US extradition request for Venezuela’s top spy Hugo Carvajal

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Spain’s top court has denied an extradition request by the United States and has ordered the release of Venezuela‘s former spy chief, Hugo Carvajal.

Carvajal had been arrested earlier by the Spanish government on a drug trafficking charge upon a request by the United States. General Hugo Carvajal was a part of Venezuela’s military intelligence and used to be the head of the division.

The former Military Intelligence chief was a close aide of former Venezuelan president late Hugo Chavez. He also served under current Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro. He has been sought by the United States after he was allegedly involved in drug trafficking activities and his close association with FARC rebels.

This was not the first time that the United States wanted to have Venezuela’s top chief extradited. In an earlier attempt in 2014, Carvajal was arrested in Aruba and later released as Venezuela had pressured Aruba to release Carvajal.

After a falling out with President Maduro in 2016 and supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido. He has been forced to flee the country. In Spain, he had been arrested in April this year.

The United States has been exerting its pressure to find people who would flip on the current Venezuela Government under Nicolas Maduro. Maduro has been in office after Hugo Chavez had passed away in 2013. Maduro at the time was the Vice-President of Venezuela and since his elevation to power has been riddled with civil unrest after a major economic collapse of the country.

The United States has levied heavy sanctions against the current government to pressure the leader to resign in order to restore democracy in the country. Carvajal’s support of Guaido and request to the people in the military to support the opposition leader fell short after a coup attempt had failed.

As per an article in the Wall Street Journal, the extradition of General Carvajal would not have sat well with dissenters of President Maduro. It would have sent them into fear of prosecution for their alleged roles in drug trafficking.

On the verdict of the court, according to Reuters, the former intelligence chief said ” I didn’t expect any other outcome. I’m innocent.”

Venezuela is currently facing a major economic as well as humanitarian crisis. With many of the people living in the country now leaving their homes to find refuge in neighboring countries of Venezuela. Many countries are concerned about the deplorable situation in Venezuela.

While President Maduro has been backed by Russia and China who consider him to be the legitimate government. On the other hand, opposition leader Juan Guaido has been backed by many countries including the United States, European Union, Australia, Brazil, and others.

(Inputs from agencies)

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