During a recent news segment, Al Jazeera aired a video obtained from inside Colombia of an interview conducted by police investigators of incarcerated Colombian paramilitary assassin Geovanny Velasquéz Zambrano. During the interview, obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera, the Colombian paramilitary confirmed that a “wealthy Venezuelan politician” named Manuel Rosales, offered him $25 million to assassinate President Chávez by any means. The conversation with Rosales took place at a secret meeting in 1999 with several Colombian paramilitary leaders. Rosales said that he personally would be in charge of the plan to assassinate President Chávez, though the money would come from several sources. The Colombian paramilitary forces involved in the assassination attempt first went for training in Catamumbo, on the border with Venezuela. But in 2004, approximately 100 Colombian paramilitary forces were detained in a farm outside of Caracas belonging to an opposition leader, Robert Alonso, who has often called for the violent overthrow of the Chávez administration. The Colombians were detained and accused of a plot to assassinate the President. They were found with military uniforms, weapons and sufficient ammunition to cause serious damage in the country. Robert Alonso, a Cuban-Venezuelan and brother of the famous actress Maria Conchita Alonso, fled in exile to Miami, where he has remained ever since, continuing to plot violently against President Chávez.
On the video aired by Al Jazeera, the Colombian paramilitary confirms that currently there are around 2500 Colombian paramilitary forces inside Venezuela with the objective of assassinating President Chávez and destabilizing the country.
Although assassination attempts against President Chávez have been denounced on several occasions, the international press and Venezuelan opposition have largely ridiculed such claims. Nevertheless, the presence of Colombian paramilitary members inside Venezuela is largely well known. This new revelation, from the mouth of one of the participants, confirms what Venezuela has been denouncing for some time: Colombia has been infiltrating paramilitary forces into the country to destabilize, from the inside, and assassinate the President, when and where possible. This information also confirms that Manuel Rosales did not flee Venezuela and request political asylum in Peru because he was facing corruption charges, but rather because he feared the truth would come out one day about his participation in a plot to assassinate the President. With this information, the Venezuelan government has the right to request Rosales’ extradition from Peru, since political asylum cannot be granted to criminals.
See the original Al Jazeera segment here: