Posts Tagged ‘Jose Gregorio Perez Escalona’

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez Fills Top Posts

| January 27th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez has been filling top posts in Venezuela’s armed forces with hardline political loyalists, raising concerns among critics that the military leaders might not accept the results of this year’s election if it goes against him.

The man named defense minister this month, Gen. Henry Rangel Silva, has been the bluntest: “A hypothetical opposition government starting in 2012 would be selling out the country; the Armed Force is not going to accept that,” he told a Venezuelan newspaper in 2010.

Rangel had joined Chavez in a 1992 attempt to overthrow the president of the time, as did Chavez’s newly appointed Military Aviation commander, Gen. Jose Gregorio Perez Escalona. The new head of another key military branch, the National Guard, also is tightly tied to the leftist leader.

“With this maneuver, Chavez aims to consolidate loyalties within his most radical sector,” said Rocio San Miguel, leader of ... Read More

Chavez Appoints Accused Drug Trafficker as Defense Minister

| January 9th, 2012 | No Comments »

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday appointed General Henry Rangel Silva as his defense minister despite US accusations that the lawmaker was a participant in drug trafficking.

“Today I announce his appointment as the new minister of defense of the republic here in this sacred temple in front of the Virgin of Coromoto,” Chavez said during an outdoor Mass in Guanare, in northwestern Venezuela, as it was broadcast on radio and television.

At the same time, he appointed General Jose Gregorio Perez Escalona as the new commander of Venezuelan Aviation.

“Let’s give applause to the new appointed defense minister, Rangel Silva, and the new commanding general of the Bolivarian Aviation, Major General Perez Escalona,” he said.

In 2008, the US Treasury Department froze assets of Silva, then director of the Venezuelan intelligence service, accusing him of drug trafficking and supporting Colombian guerrillas associated with the revolutionary group FARC.

In 2010, Chavez promoted Silva to general-in-chief, ... Read More