Colombian paramilitaries turned down a proposal by a group of Venezuelan military officers to stage a coup against President Hugo Chavez in 2002, according to extradited former AUC leader Salvatore Mancuso.
Speaking from a U.S. prison on Thursday, Mancuso said that a Venezuelan military emissary named “Luke” approached the former paramilitary to ask the AUC to overthrow the president, reports Global Vision.
Mancuso says that he told Luke it was “the craziest thing in the universe,” and that now-deceased paramilitary leader, Carlos Castaño, also refused the proposal.
In May 2004, Venezuelan authorities arrested hundreds of alleged Colombian paramilitaries on a farm near Caracas, accusing them of planning a coup to topple the Chavez government and attempting to kill the president.
Hugo Chavez pardoned the group in 2007 as a “goodwill gesture” when he started work as a mediator for FARC prisoner releases.
DAS links to Paramilitaries
Salvatore Mancuso also asserts that Colombian security agency DAS orchestrated the 2008 claim of former paramilitary Jose Orlando Moncada, alias “Tasmania,” that he was forced to incriminate President Uribe by a Supreme Court judge.
The extradited AUC leader claims former DAS director Jorge Noguera had links to paramilitaries.
Mancuso also said that former deputy director of security agency DAS, Jose Miguel Narvaez, had visited paramilitary camps to politically indoctrinate their fighters at a time when he was an advisor to the Ministry of Defense.
“Narvaez met camp commander Carlos Castaño in 1996 or 1997 – he was the ideological instructor to the heads of the paramilitaries. Castaño constantly asked Narvaez for favors,” Mancuso said.
DAS head Felipe Munoz reacted to the allegations against his organization by saying he does “not respond to criminals.”
On Wednesday Colombia’s Prosecutor General said that Mancuso was responsible for the deaths of over 10,000 people during his time in charge of the AUC’s Catatumbo Bloc.