Caracas, March 9, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Two suspects, including a captain of the Venezuelan National Guard, were detained late Thursday night for their presumed involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate the Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez.
A recorded telephone call in which one of the suspects talks about the planning of an attempt on the life of the president was televised Wednesday night on the state television channel VTV. This comes after President Chávez announced in a TV interview earlier this week that there are new plans for his assassination.
General Ramón Guillén Dávila and his son Capitan Tomás Guillén were taken into custody by Military Intelligence (DIM) on Thursday night for conspiring to take the President’s life, a crime for which they could receive a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison. The suspects were taken to the headquarters of the military court today where they will be tried for instigating rebellion, based on Venezuela’s Military Code of Justice.
The telephone call that supposedly implicates the two in the plot was presented Wednesday night on the TV program La Hojilla, on the state-run channel VTV. The call consists of a conversation between the captain Tomás Guillén and a foreign woman named Sindry Patricia, who according to the TV program, is his wife.
In the recorded conversation Guillén explains that his father and he, along with other military officials, one with the last name "Serruti," have been meeting to discuss plans to assassinate Chávez.
In a televised interview last Sunday, Chávez said his government is stepping up its efforts to thwart assassination attempts. He was asked about the subject by former vice-president José Vicente Rangel, who now hosts a talk show on the channel Televen after stepping down from the vice-presidency in January.
Chávez warned that plots to kill him are gaining force due to several reasons, including the recent appointment of John Negroponte as deputy to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. Chávez called Negroponte a "professional killer," recalling his actions as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras in the 1980’s in which thousands of leftists and students were killed by U.S.-backed government forces.
He also pointed out that the CIA has stepped up activity against Venezuela and said that his government has intelligence that associates of the anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles are involved in plotting to assassinate him. "They are going around searching for explosives in large quantities, thinking about a sort of car bombing or searching for ground-to-air missiles, thinking about the presidential plane," he said.
To proactively prevent assassination attempts, Chávez said that they will be on the offensive. He said it is necessary to be on the offensive "because we have been on the defensive on that issue. It’s possible that surprises could soon occur."
It appears that yesterday’s arrests may have been a part of this government offensive. The plot was frustrated due to preventative actions taken by the military which had obtained an order to intercept telephone calls from the suspects’ home.