Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has stated he fully supports a top Venezuelan official detained in Aruba.
General Hugo Carvajal was detained on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba on Wednesday. Aruban authorities have stated the arrest was made at the request of the United States.
Maduro has stated the arrest was “illegal”, labeling it a “kidnapping”. He said that all “diplomatic mechanisms” had been devoted to freeing Carvajal.
“From the moment he was arrested he has had the full support of the government, the state, and also the people and the armed forces,” Maduro said yesterday, according to state media agency AVN.
Carvajal was appointed Venezuela’s consul general in Aruba in January, though island authorities opposed the move. He was traveling on a diplomatic passport, according to Maduro.
The general has been accused by U.S. authorities of funneling money to the Colombian leftist guerrillas, the FARC, and sheltering narcotics shipments from Venezuelan security forces.
Carvajal served as head of Venezuela’s military intelligence from 2004-2009.
Spokesperson for Aruban prosecutors Ann Angela stated the U.S. has 60 days to pursue extradition. She also rejected Venezuelan claims that Carvajal had diplomatic immunity, stating that Aruba never accepted him as a consul general.
“We know that he has a diplomatic passport, but immunity comes with a function, and he was not accredited,” Angela stated, according to the New York Times.
The general is expected to appear in court later today.
“No effort will be spared to ensure this illegality is corrected,” Maduro said.