Francisco Chávez Abarca, Posada Carriles’ Right Hand Man, Captured in Venezuela – español
Translation: Machetera for Tlaxcala
Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president, reported today that the Salvadoran Francisco Chávez Abarca, accused of being Luis Posada Carriles’ right hand man, and the author of various explosive attacks in Cuba, was arrested in a nighttime intelligence operation on Thursday when he tried to enter Venezuela.
In an address from Miraflores Palace (the government headquarters), the Venezuelan leader explained that Abarca was arrested in the airport at Maiquetía (in the north) and was transferred to the headquarters of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) for interrogation.
Nicknamed “Potbelly,” Chávez Abarca is on Interpol’s Most Wanted list due to his implication in various attacks with explosives in Cuba in the 1990’s.
In the wake of the capture, the Venezuelan president asked what might have been the Salvadoran’s intention in trying to enter the country and ordered verification of the person(s) awaiting him.
“Who wanted Chávez Abarca in Venezuela? Who was awaiting him?” the Venezuelan leader asked, before reporting that Chávez Abarca will be delivered to Interpol so that he can be sent to Cuba, the country that requested his capture.
He said that “this gentleman came here to kill me (…) that’s what my heart says,” and he asked for collaboration to clarify the “special mission that he came to complete in Venezuela.”
Chávez said that that midway through the advance of the revolution and close to the parliamentary elections in September “it is very strange that a terrorist of this caliber should come.”
“Posada Carriles ought to be really nervous because we’ve caught one of his people,” he added.
Chávez Abarca was under arrest in El Salvador for two years for being the leader of a gang dedicated to vehicle theft in that country, but sidestepped sentencing for other international crimes of which he was accused.
Chávez Abarca and 21 members of his gang were arrested under charges of automobile theft and swindling. Authorities assured at the time that they were dealing with “one of the main structures of organized crime dedicated to vehicle theft on a national and Central American level.”
On October 28, 2007, a complacent judge freed Chávez Abarca from his criminal charges. However, he never had to answer for his role as the principal accomplice of Luis Posada Carriles. The campaign for his arrest was never mentioned before Salvadoran courts, despite repeated complaints.
In the 1990s, there were indications that he had dedicated himself to drug trafficking as well as arms sales and currency counterfeiting in Guatemala.
He used the aliases Manuel González, Roberto Solórzano and William González, and went on three short trips to Cuba in April and May of 1997 to engage in various attacks there.
In 1997 he detonated a bomb with 600 grams of C-4 that caused structural damage in the bathrooms of the Aché discotheque in the Hotel Melia Cohiba, on April 12, 1997.
On the 30th of the same month, an explosive device with 401 grams of C-4 that the Salvadoran had put in an ornamental planter on the 15th floor of the same hotel was defused.
Furthermore, on May 24th, while Chávez Abarca was in México, a bomb exploded in the offices of the Cubanacán corporation in the capital.
President Chávez recalled that it has been five years since his government made a formal petition to Washington for the extradition of Posada Carriles, an ex-agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Posada Carriles is 82 years old and is responsible for, among other crimes, the explosive attack n October 6, 1976 against Cubana de Aviación Flight 455, where all 73 people on board were killed.
Posada Carriles is free in the United States and only accused of violating immigration laws. The United States has not answered Venezuela’s extradition request.
It was Posada Carriles’ recruit who planted the bomb that killed Fabio di Celmo.
In 1997, following instructions from Posada Carriles, “Potbelly” Chávez Abarca was the person who contracted with the mercenary Ernesto Cruz León and charged him with carrying out terrorist missions in Cuba, telling him that he himself had done it, and shortly thereafter he trained his recruit in the preparation of explosive devices.
This was how Cruz León came to make two trips to Cuba during which he planted bombs in Havana hotels, one of which killed the young Italian tourist Fabio de Celmo, on September 4, 1997. It was the most tragic moment in the criminal terror campaign unleashed by Posada on behalf of the Cuban American National Foundation, created by the CIA.
(With reporting from Telesur)
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source and translator are cited.