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World Venezuelan police arrest Chavez's ex-spy chief at event

01:35  14 march  2018
01:35  14 march  2018 Source:   ap.org

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan police on Tuesday arrested Hugo Chavez ' s powerful former spy chief , on accusations of sowing unrest as he leads a movement of disgruntled leftists seeking

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FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, Venezuela's Minister of Interior and Justice Miguel Rodriguez Torres, left, speaks with President Nicolas Maduro during a break at a press conference with the national and foreign media at Miraflores Presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Torres, a former spy chief for Hugo Chavez who has been leading a movement of alienated leftists opposed to President Maduro, was hauled away Tuesday, March 13, 2018, by agents from the Sebin intelligence police, according to Torres' aides. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, Venezuela's Minister of Interior and Justice Miguel Rodriguez Torres, left, speaks with President Nicolas Maduro during a break at a press conference with the national and foreign media at Miraflores Presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Torres, a former spy chief for Hugo Chavez who has been leading a movement of alienated leftists opposed to President Maduro, was hauled away Tuesday, March 13, 2018, by agents from the Sebin intelligence police, according to Torres' aides. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

CARACAS, Venezuela — Police on Tuesday arrested Hugo Chavez's powerful former spy chief, who has been leading a movement of disgruntled leftists opposed to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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CARACAS, Venezuela — Police on Tuesday arrested Hugo Chavez ' s powerful former spy chief , who has been leading a movement of disgruntled leftists opposed to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Aldon Smith has warrant out for his arrest .

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan police on Tuesday arrested Hugo Chavez ’ s powerful former spy chief , on accusations of sowing unrest as he leads a movement of disgruntled leftists seeking to replace President Nicolas Maduro.

Miguel Rodriguez Torres was speaking at an event organized by anti-government female activists in a Caracas hotel when he calmly stopped his speech and left the podium, saying he had "received a notification that requires me to urgently leave."

Moments later, he was escorted into the back of a police vehicle and driven away by agents from the Sebin intelligence police, the same force he created in 2010 while serving as Chavez's trusted aide. Aides who witnessed the arrest said it was unclear why he was detained or where he was taken.

Rodriguez Torres is a former army major general who served alongside Chavez in a failed 1992 coup. For over a year, he has been quietly building a movement to challenge Maduro in presidential elections, but earlier this year was barred from holding office for 12 months on what supporters call trumped-up charges of not presenting a sworn affidavit declaring his assets and income.

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan police on Tuesday arrested Hugo Chavez ’ s powerful former spy chief , on accusations of sowing unrest as he leads a movement of disgruntled leftists seeking to replace President Nicolas Maduro. Miguel Rodriguez Torres was speaking at an event

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan police on Tuesday arrested Hugo Chavez ' s powerful former spy chief , on accusations of sowing unrest as he leads a movement of disgruntled leftists seeking to replace President Nicolas Maduro.

In his speech Tuesday, he called for electoral authorities to uphold Venezuela's constitution and provide guarantees that the upcoming presidential election will be free and fair. Several prominent opponents of Maduro's socialist administration have been barred from competing in the May vote while several other have been exiled or jailed.

"Once those conditions are reached we should select one candidate to begin that electoral process to begin transforming the reality we are living today," Rodriguez Torres told the gathering.

With deep ties to the military, traditionally the arbiter of political disputes in Venezuela, Rodriguez Torres has managed to distinguish himself from other former government loyalists on the left even while until now evading arrest or prosecution like many of Maduro's conservative opponents.

In an interview last year with The Associated Press, Rodriguez Torres accused Maduro of destroying Venezuela's oil-rich economy, failing to rein in violence by pro-government militias and silencing critics. He said if given the chance to lead he would eliminate foreign currency controls put in place in 2003 and seek financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund, which Chavez railed against.

Despite attempts to present himself as a kinder, gentler Chavista, many in the conservative opposition accuse Rodriguez Torres of violating human rights by arresting dozens of protesters as Maduro's interior minister during a wave of anti-government unrest in 2014.

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Associated Press writer Fabiola Sanchez reported this story in Caracas and AP writer Joshua Goodman reported from Bogota, Colombia.

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