9. Did you have any contact or communication with any other individuals under indictment as co-conspirators or named in superseding indictments related to those issued in March 2020 against Jesus Santrich and Ivan Marquez, during the period of 1999 to the present day where the criminal activities mentioned in the indictments were alleged to have been taking place?
This final question for Iván Cepeda is straightforward in a few words – what was his relationship to key Venezuelan regime figures who conspired with the FARC to produce and traffic cocaine into the United States?
Those figures, now under indictment thanks to material evidence presented to a federal grand jury in New York, are: Nicolas Maduro, Diosdado Cabello, “El Pollo” Carvajal and Clíver Alcalá. According to the unsealed indictment documents in the U.S. Southern District of New York, their involvement started in 1999 when they were fairly unknown figures in the government of Hugo Chavez. They were put in charge of working with FARC commanders like Ivan Marquez and Jesus Santrich to get cocaine production going and move the illegal drugs into U.S. territory under heavily armed trafficking networks like the Cartel de los Soles.
Here are the key facts behind this question:
- Santrich was paid $300,000 by an associate of the Cartel de los Soles to build a FARC-managed cocaine factory – in 2003.
- Cepeda launched the centerpiece of his political activism, the Movice NGO — in 2003.
- Cepeda used Movice to organize counter-demonstrations against the massive February 2008 anti-FARC march in Colombia. Cepeda’s march also expressed loyalty and support to the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez.
- Seized computer files from a 2008 Colombian raid on the FARC headquarters allegedly show that the FARC and Cepeda coordinated the Movice counter-demonstration.
- Cepeda attended the funeral of Hugo Chavez in 2013, and called him “the architect of a new order on our continent, of a deep integration of our peoples, and that will be recorded forever and ever.”
So, in addition to questions about the timing of Cepeda’s first associations with the FARC, U.S. authorities should also wonder – when did Cepeda first associate with the Venezuelan regime, and through whom?
Cepeda’s answers – with dates included – will inevitably be compared to the facts in the U.S. Southern District indictments. Perhaps this is why he is refusing to answer?