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Former Venezuelan general Clíver Alcalá Cordones sentenced to 21 years in prison in the U.S. for providing weapons to FARC

The 62-year-old former military man admitted last year that he provided protection to Colombian guerrillas and supplied 2 grenade launchers and 20 grenades.

El general retirado del ejército venezolano Clíver Alcalá habla durante una conferencia de prensa

Clíver Alcalá (Juan Barreto / AFP)

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A New York court sentenced former general of the Venezuelan Army, Clíver Alcalá Cordones, to serve a sentence of 21 years and 6 months in prison in the United States for his involvement in supplying firearms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and for receiving millions of dollars in bribes related to drug trafficking in the United States.

According to court documents, since approximately 2006, Alcalá Cordones, 62, took advantage of his position to provide support to FARC while distributing cocaine in the United States. Likewise, the former general prevented members and associates of this violent organization from being arrested by Venezuelan law enforcement forces, providing them "protection" and "freedom of movement."

"Alcalá Cordones participated in meetings with some of the largest drug traffickers in South America, during which they discussed how Alcalá Cordones and other members of the Cártel de Los Soles could assist in their cocaine distribution (...) [He] also personally intervened to ensure that large shipments (...) In exchange, Alcalá Cordones received millions of dollars in cocaine-fueled bribes," indicates the statement from the United States Department of Justice.

This sentence ends a four-year legal process since Alcalá voluntarily surrendered in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2020. The judge described the crimes committed by the former general while he was part of the Venezuelan army as unjustifiable.

Alcalá will serve 260 months in prison, of which he has already served 48. Although his defense requested a reduced sentence, arguing that at that time he was following orders from the regime of the late Hugo Chávez, the judge did not grant this request.

More about Clíver Alcalá

Clíver Alcalá Cordones, born in 1961 in Tinaco, Cojedes, is a former major general of the Venezuelan Army. He trained at the Venezuelan Military Academy and served in the Army until July 5, 2013. He reached the rank of commander of the IV Armed Division, the most powerful unit of the Venezuelan Army.

During his career, Alcalá was a loyal supporter of the late President Hugo Chávez. However, after CChávez'sdeath in 2013, Alcalá distanced himself from Nicolás Maduro's regime and accused it of deviating from the original project of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Alcalá moved to Barranquilla, Colombia, where he lived until 2020 when he was extradited to the United States after surrendering to local authorities. Last year, Alcalá pleaded guilty in order to negotiate the terms of his sentence. Alcalá not only admitted his participation in the drug trafficking scheme but also confirmed that he protected FARC and that he gave them 2 grenade launchers and 20 grenades.