Caracas, Venezuela, November 5, 2005—Venezuela’s Attorney General, Isaias Rodríguez, issued arrest warrants for four prominent individuals in the case of last year’s assassination of state prosecutor Danilo Anderson. According to Rodriguez, the four masterminded the conspiracy that led to Anderson’s assassination with a car bomb. The four individuals accused of having conspired in the planning of the assassination are: Patricia Poleo, a well-known opposition journalist and editor of the tabloid El Nuevo País; Nelson Mezerhane, a businessman and partner in the TV channel Globovisión; retired General Eugenio Añez Núñez, who was part of the dissident military officers that occupied a plaza in Caracas for nearly a year; and Salvador Romaní, a well-known Cuban anti-Castro militant who was involved in the assault on the Cuban embassy in Venezuela on April 12, 2002.
Añez and Romaní were arrested last night because, according to Rodriguez, there was a danger that they would flee the country. “We had very precise information that they were trying to leave Venezuela,” said Rodriguez. Romani told the press, “I don’t have anything to do with this. I was a police officer and with the DISIP [a national special forces police] and now I work for private security.”
Poleo and Mezerhane are expected to be arrested later today. “I will not hide because I have a daughter to see,” said Poleo yesterday. Although police raided Mezerhane’s residence yesterday, he has not yet been located.
According to the Attorney General’s office, 12 distinct pieces of evidence point to the involvement of the four individuals being arrested. Among the evidence are reports of three separate meetings the four had in 2003 and 2004 with the three people who actually carried out the bombing. The group planned assassinations of other government officials, but never managed to carry them out, said Rodriguez.
The three who placed and detonated the bomb and who were arrested shortly after the assassination took place are the brothers Rolando and Otoniel Guevara and their cousin Juan Batista Guevara. Attorney General Rodriguez says that the investigation shows that $1.2 million were to be paid to the Guevaras in an account in Weston, Florida.
Last month Rodriguez said that the CIA was also involved in the Anderson assassination, in that it provided “technical consultation” during meetings in Panama City and in Miami. Members of Colombia’s paramilitary group AUC provided the C-4 explosive.
Rodriguez also said that there are so many individuals implicated in the assassination that they could “fit into a bus.” The four who are being implicated now, though, are cases where the evidence is solid and they are in the country. Many of the others that the Attorney General has implicated are currently suspected to be in hiding in the United States. The names of these others will be revealed once the trial against the three Guevaras begins, probably on November 10th.
State Prosecutor Danilo Anderson was assassinated November 18, 2004, when a car bomb, made with C-4 plastic explosive, detonated as he was on his way home after teaching an evening course. Anderson was a well-known prosecutor because some of the country’s most controversial cases had been assigned to him. The most important among included the investigation of the 400 signers of the so-called “Carmona Decree,” which abolished the Venezuelan constitution and installed Pedro Carmona as president during the April 2002 coup attempt. Also, he was involved in investigating a former foreign minister, Enrique Tejera Paris and a General, Alfonso Martinez, for a plot to assassinate President Chavez.
Shortly after his assassination, Patricia Poleo, one of the four arrested implicated in Anderson’s assassination yesterday, published documents that she said she obtained from Anderson’s files that supposedly showed that his office was involved in a blackmail scheme, in which some of those accused of various crimes were told to pay prosecutors in exchange for dropping cases against them. The Attorney General’s office reacted by saying that it would investigate these accusations. It later conceded that while there may have been irregularities within the office, none involved Danilo Anderson himself.
Venezuelan Attorney General and U.S. Ambassador Meet
Attorney General Rodriguez invited the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield to his office on Thursday, to discuss how the U.S. government might with the Anderson investigation. Following the meeting, Rodriguez said that Brownfield had offered to help Venezuela with securing two Venezuelans who are believed to be at the center of the Anderson assassination.
A statement on the Attorney General’s Office’s website stated that Rodriguez, “acknowledged [the ambassador’s] supportive attitude in offering technical cooperation in investigating the terrorist act.” That help, the statement continued, “could obviate extradition and lead to a faster and more expeditious way to permit those who allegedly took part as perpetrators in Danilo Anderson’s slaying to be tried in Venezuela.”