By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Embattled Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro demoted, expelled or separated from the Armed Forces 13 current and/or former military officers, including men currently in jail and retired personnel, according to a decree published in the “Gaceta Oficial”, the government’s official "Federal Register" publication of records.
Raul Isaias Baduel, the Army General in Chief who rescued Maduro’s mentor and predecessor, Hugo Chavez, after a failed coup d’etat in 2001 and who is already in jail (for asking that Maduro leave office last year) and who retired when Chavez was still alive and in power (both men had a falling out after Baduel came out against eternal re-election) was the first officer mentioned in the decree.
Maduro is accusing Baduel and the other 13 officers of crimes against the integrity, independence and freedom of the nation, including treason to the fatherland. Local military and security affairs NGO “Control Ciudadano” said the total number of military officers demoted recently, including the recent batch of 13 expurgated personnel, is now 24.
The list of 13 also includes Captain Juan Carlos Caguaripano Scott, from the National Guard. Already in jail, and undergoing torture and seclusion according to media reports, Caguaripano led an attack against an Army barracks last year where two of the attackers died and armaments were stolen. He was captured weeks later and most of the materiel recovered.
Navy Captain Leamsy Salazar, a Venezuelan Military Academy graduate and security head for Chavez, Maduro and Diosdado Cabello, was also in the published list of the 13 officers demoted. However, Salazar left Venezuela several years ago and is now living in the US, reportedly working with authorities there, informing about alleged criminal activities by his former bosses in government.
The highest ranking officer in the list after Baduel, Major General Hebert Garcia, is not in Venezuela either. He quit the country last year and has spoken before the Organization of American States (OAS) about corruption in the regime, particularly in the purchase and distribution of subsidized foodstuffs under the CLAP scheme.
Another ex-communicated Navy man, Mario Ivan Carratu, has been retired for several years now. Also living in the U.S. and vocally critical of the Maduro administration, Carratu helped evacuate President Carlos Andres Perez from the Miraflores Presidential Palace, under tank and machine gun fire, during the failed 1992 coup led by Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
Per Venezuelan military regulations, their pay and retirement package will be severely impacted. Also, they will have to return all medals received.
Venezuela - Gaceta Oficial - 41,350 - 28 February 2018 by Latin American Herald Tribune on Scribd