Cliver Alcala was arrested by the US authorities on drug trafficking charges, which were filed as the Trump administration pressed Venezuelan President Maduro to leave power.
A retired Venezuelan army general has said US officials at the highest levels of the CIA and other federal agencies were aware of his efforts to oust Nicolas Maduro.
The stunning accusation came in a court filing late on Friday by attorneys for Cliver Alcala seeking to have thrown out narcoterrorism charges filed nearly two years ago by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
“Efforts to overthrow the Maduro regime have been well known to the United States government,” Alcala's attorneys said in a November 2021 letter to prosecutors that accompanied their motion to have the charges dismissed.
“His opposition to the regime and his alleged efforts to overthrow it were reported to the highest levels of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Council, and the Department of the Treasury.”
Alcala says his role should immediately debunk criminal charges that he worked alongside the socialist leader to flood the US with cocaine.
The court records raise fresh questions about what the Trump administration knew about the failed plot to oust Maduro involving Jordan Goudreau, an idealistic battle-scarred former US Green Beret, and a ragtag army of Venezuelan military deserters he was helping Alcala train at secret camps in Colombia around the time of his arrest.
He has been an outspoken critic of Maduro almost since he took office in 2013 following the death of Hugo Chavez.
‘Left with little choice’
Also named as having knowledge of Alcala’s activities are two allies of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who the US recognises as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, as well as Miami-based political strategist J.J. Rendon, who signed on behalf of Guaida a never-executed agreement for Goudreau to carry out a snatch and grab operation against Maduro.
“The evidence is clear that he has been openly and actively opposed to his alleged co-conspirators for at least the past eight years,” attorneys wrote in the letter to prosecutors included in Friday’s filing.
“Indeed, his conduct, in support of the democratic ideals in which he believes, constituted treason against the very people whom the government alleges were his co-conspirators for which they seek his detention, imprisonment, and life.”
In the telling of Alcala‘s attorneys, on the eve of launching what would’ve been his second armed raid against Maduro, the former army major general received a knock on the door from a US law enforcement official at his home in Barranquilla, Colombia informing him that he had been indicted.
“The agent informed (him) that he could either board a private jet bound for New York or be held in a Colombian jail where he would no doubt be targeted by the Venezuelan intelligence services for assassination,” Alcala’s attorneys claim. “Left with little choice, (he) agreed to accompany the agent back to the United States.”
Although Alcala was out of the picture in a Manhattan jail, a small group of would-be freedom fighters pushed ahead and on May 3, 2020, two days after an investigation by The Associated Press blew the lid on the clandestine camps, launched a cross-border raid that was easily mopped up.