Caracas, Venezuela, diciembre 28, 2005—An official of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) whose last name is Thomas attended a meeting in Colombia between Venezuelan dissident ex-military officers and Colombian military, announced Telesur citing an unnamed source.
The announcement came exactly a week after Venezuelan President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías said that he had evidence that a “US official” had been present at a Colombian meeting which his government had described as subversive. “We know perfectly well, because of the information that we have, that we’re dealing with a subversive meeting against Venezuelan interests,” said Vice President José Vincente Rangel.
The meeting, according to the anonymous source, was the origin of a tape, later broadcast on channel 41 in Miami, which showed fugitive Retired General Néstor González González, who participated in the brief 2002 coup which dissolved the national assembly, constitution, and Supreme Court. On the tape, according to Telesur, González delivered a “clearly insurrectional message” and “defended violence.”
Earlier this month Colombian President Alviro Uribe admitted that a meeting between Venezuelan dissident generals and Colombian intelligence took place in Bogotá and condemned it. “The Colombian government won’t allow anyone to hatch conspiracies against a democratic government, and even less, against our brothers,” he added.
However, Andrés Peñate, the head of Colombia’s secret police (DAS), to the consternation of Uribe and Rangel, had dismissed the importance of the meeting, saying it was innocuous. “Under President Uribe’s orders, we investigated and found out that there had indeed been a meeting of Venezuela opposition ex-military officers in the academic headquarters of our military forces, but it didn’t deal with a conspiracy, but rather it was a conference in which the Venezuelans were guests,” Peñate asserted. Later that week Peñate met with Venezuelan Interior Minister Jesse Chacón Escamillo to discuss security between the two countries, especially along the border, reported EFE.Telesur did not report Thomas’s first name, or any other details, other than that he was of Peruvian descent.