Hugo Carvajal, former chief of the Venezuelan military intelligence, has been released and returned to Venezuela after Aruban authorities arrested him on the island last week. According to Foreign Minister Elías Jaua, the Dutch government has recognized Carvajal should have been granted diplomatic immunity since he had been nominated for a position at the Aruban embassy.
Diosdado Cabello, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, responded to Carvajal’s release by saying, “[It is] a victory for the Bolivarian homeland, the socialist homeland, the revolutionary homeland. We were fully aware that if we acted according to the law, the physical and moral integrity of comrade Hugo Carvajal was never in jeopardy.”
Carvajal’s release comes after the Venezuelan Supreme Justice Tribunal condemned his detention and said he should be considered immune from criminal prosecution as an “active Venezuelan consular official.”
The Aruban court had ruled out diplomatic immunity since Carvajal, although nominated, had not yet been confirmed to his post at the moment of his arrest. After releasing him, the Aruban authorities declared Carvajal “persona non grata,” meaning the former general could be arrested again if he returns to the Caribbean island.
Carvajal landed in Venezuela on Monday. He met with president Maduro and other officials and thanked the Venezuelan public for their support.
Since May 2013, the US government has accused Carvajal of collaborating with drug traffickers and providing weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).