Venezuelan government kidnaps exiled officer in Chile

Lieutenant Ronald Ojeda Moreno was kidnapped by Venezuelan intelligence officials who posed as immigration employees.

Venezuelan Army.
Venezuelan Army. Photo courtesy: Xavier Granja Cedeño / Cancilleria Ecuador

Ronald Ojeda Moreno, a Venezuelan military officer who fled to Chile after breaking out of Ramo Verde prison in Venezuela, where he was held by Nicolás Maduro’s government, was kidnapped by agents from the Venezuelan General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence who infiltrated Chilean territory.

This was reported on Wednesday by Iván Simonovis, a former political prisoner and former Special Intelligence Security Commissioner of Juan Guaidó’s interim government, on his social media, along with a video.

The kidnapping was planned by Alexander Granko, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Bolivarian National Guard.

Lieutenant Ronald Ojeda Moreno was kidnapped by Venezuelan intelligence officials who posed as immigration employees.

“Venezuelan tyranny recently demoted this officer… I have information that he is already in Caracas,” said Tamara Suju, a lawyer and human rights activist.

Radio Bío Bío, a Chilean media outlet, accessed records that show that Ojeda Moreno was granted political asylum by Gabriel Boric’s government at the end of 2023.

They also reported that Carabineros and the Chilean Investigative Police (PDI) are currently searching for the Venezuelan lieutenant colonel, while his family filed a complaint with the Public Ministry.

The Public Ministry said that the investigation is led by the southern regional prosecutor, Héctor Barros.

Deputy Tomás de Rementería, president of the Foreign Relations Commission, said that it is “very serious” if it is confirmed that there was a foreign intelligence operation on Chilean soil: “I will request the House Intelligence Commission to summon the authorities of the intelligence bodies to see what information they have and also in the Foreign Relations Commission to analyze what happened, if there is information and if the Venezuelan Government was asked if this was actually happening”.

In November 2022, Ojeda Moreno protested in front of the Presidential Palace of Chile against the talks between the Venezuelan opposition and Chavismo in Mexico.

That day, the Venezuelan soldier knelt in front of the government house and held a sign asking for the release of political prisoners in Venezuela.

He wore a black bag over his head, with the initials of the DGCIM, in the photo he took during that protest.

On February 28, 2018, decree 2,399 was published in Official Gazette No. 41,350, which announced the demotion and expulsion from the FANB, without prior trial, of 13 senior officers and 11 first lieutenants. Ronald Leandro Ojeda Moreno was one of them.

The Maduro regime has used the lists of demotions and expulsions to punish those who have opposed it.

Ojeda Moreno’s kidnapping comes at a time when government of Venezuela increased its crackdown on the opposition, in a year when presidential elections are due in the Caribbean country. The regime also kicked out the UN Office that operated in the country.

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