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Venezuela ex-intel chief missing in Spain ahead of US extradition

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Venezuela’s former military intelligence chief has gone missing in Spain just days after a court approved a request for his extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges, police said Wednesday.

“They are currently looking for him,” said a spokeswoman for Spain’s national police, referring to General Hugo Armando Carvajal.

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Judicial sources said police had gone to his house in Madrid after Friday’s court decision but could not find him.

In mid-September, Spain’s National Court had rejected a US extradition request, instead ordering the release of Carvajal, who served as intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

His release followed five months in provisional detention after being arrested in Madrid in mid-April.

But the court reversed that decision on Friday after accepting an appeal from the public prosecutor’s office, although full details of the ruling have not yet been made public.

Speaking to AFP, Carvajal’s lawyer María Dolores de Arguelles said she had “not been informed” they were going to rearrest him, adding that she did not know his whereabouts.

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She had also not received the full transcript of Friday’s decision, which court sources said would be released in the coming days.

Known as “El Pollo” (the Chicken), Carvajal was stripped of his rank by the administration of President Nicolas Maduro after coming out in support of Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s acting president in February.

He then fled by boat to the Dominican Republic before relocating to Spain.

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Carvajal has long been sought by US Treasury officials who suspect him of providing support to drug trafficking by the FARC guerrilla group in Colombia.

In an indictment filed in New York in 2011, Carvajal was accused of coordinating the transport of more than 5.6 tonnes of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in 2006 that was ultimately destined for the United States.

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If convicted, Carvajal could face between 10 years and life in prison, the US Justice Department said in April following his arrest.

Carvajal has denied any “links to drug trafficking and the FARC”, Spanish judicial sources said at the time.


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2020 Election

McConnell bluntly defends working with Trump to undermine impeachment: ‘We’re on the same side’

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Speaking in Kentucky on Friday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blithely blew off concerns about coordinating with Donald Trump's White House on how to handle the president's defense in the expected impeachment trial.

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In a clip shared by MSNBC, the Senate leader was pressed about his plans.

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In impeachment spotlight, dueling views of professionalism appear

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Impeachment hearings have thrust a handful of public servants into the spotlight, where competing ideas about government professionals – variously called the establishment, the “deep state,” technocrats, bureaucrats, experts and elites – shape public reaction to their testimony.

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The heroes of Bastogne: 75 years on

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The Battle of the Bulge was the last German offensive of World War II, and the Siege of Bastogne the scene of a heroic defence by American paratroopers.

Seventy-five years on, the Belgian town is hosting a weekend of colourful re-enactments followed by solemn ceremonies of remembrance.

Veterans, historians and military enthusiasts will join international officials to mark the now legendary close quarters battle on a snowbound wooded plateau.

Bastogne's relief in late December 1944 by General George "Old Blood and Guts" Patton helped seal his reputation as one of America's military giants.

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