Caracas, November 28, 2004—Two former detectives belonging to two of Venezuela’s investigative police units and who are also brothers, were arrested on Friday, in connection with last week’s assassination of state prosecutor Danilo Anderson. Also, earlier in the week, Venezuelan police forces confronted another suspect, who opened fire on them and was subsequently killed in the shootout in the western Venezuelan town of Barquisimeto. This is the second suspect who died when police tried to arrest him.
Last November 18 a car bomb killed one of Venezuela’s most prominent Prosecutors, Danilo Anderson. Anderson was involved in all of Venezuela’s most politically charged cases, such as the investigation of over 400 persons who had signed the April 2002 coup decree of Pedro Carmona, in which the constitution, the legislature, and the judiciary were suspended. Also, Anderson had indicted the oppositional mayor Henrique Capriles Radonski, for failing to protect the Cuban Embassy during the April 2002 coup attempt.
The two brothers who were arrested on Friday, Otoniel and Rolando Guevara, were arrested in Valencia, an major city about two hours drive west of Caracas. The two are said to be friends of Antonio Lopez, who was killed in a confrontation with the police last Tuesday, in which a police officer was also killed and one was wounded.
Also, the Guevara brothers are said to be friends of Juan Carlos Sanchez, another individual who has been tied to the Anderson assassination. Police tried to arrest Sanchez in Barquisimeto, about 120 miles west of Caracas, who, just like Antonio Lopez, opened fire on the police and was subsequently killed in the resulting shoot-out. C4 explosive, a 9mm pistol, and a hand grenade were found among Sanchez’s belongings.
Minister of the Interior and Justice, Jesse Chacon, explained in a press conference that a raid on the homes and offices of the Guevara brothers turned up a map that “could indicate the route of Prosecutor Anderson.” Also, Chacon said that a security video from a Caracas shopping mall that Anderson frequented showed Antonio Lopez, the lawyer who was killed in a confrontation with the police last week, following Anderson.
According to Chacon, until now investigators have identified eight persons who were involved in the Anderson assassination. One of the other suspects is Juan Bautista Guevara, a cousin of the arrested Guevara brothers, who witnesses saw near the university where Anderson was taking a class. The police’s review of cell phone records confirms this witness account.
Chacon added that the most recent investigation results show that the bomb that killed Anderson was placed while he was participating in a university course, shortly before he got into his car.
According to an article that appeared in today’s daily Panorama, investigators have found connections between the current suspects in the Anderson car bombing and the arms dealer Isaac Perez Recao, who was also implicated in the April 2002 coup against Chavez and for whom the coup “interim” President Pedro Carmona once worked. Supposedly Perez Recao purchased the C-4 explosive that was used for the car bomb, as well as for bombs that were exploded almost two years ago at the Spanish and Colombian consular offices.
The Guevara brothers are also connected to Iván Simonovis, the former security chief of the former opposition mayor Alfredo Peña. Simonovis is currently wanted by the police in connection with the April 2002 coup attempt and recently fled to Miami. Simonovis was one of the people Danilo Anderson was prosecuting on charges of having ordered the Caracas police to shoot at pro-Chavez demonstrators during the coup – the exchange of fire between Caracas Metropolitan police and Chavez supporters was used as a justification for the coup. It is these connections that have led the Attorney General, Isaias Rodriguez to say that former mayor Alfredo Peña, Simonovis, former Peña police chiefs Henry Vivas and Lazaro Forero to be prime suspects in the Danilo Anderson assassination. Vivas and Forero are currently seeking asylum in the Salvadoran embassy (see: Venezuela Ex-Cops Asylum Petition May Be Denied by El Salvador) and Peña is said to be in hiding in Miami.
Other connections that the Guevara brothers appear to have is with the Montesinos case. Vladimir Montesinos was the former Peruvian spy chief, who sought refuge in Venezuela after the fall of Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. For a long time it was rumored that Chavez was sheltering Montesinos. Panorama, however, reports that Montesinos paid the Guevara brothers $1 million to hide him in Venezuela.