Salazar in March 2014
|Born||1974 (age 45–46)|
|Years of service||1998–2014|
Leamsy Villafaña José Salazar was a lieutenant colonel in the Venezuelan Navy who was also the head of security details for Hugo Chávez and Diosdado Cabello. Salazar defected to the United States in December 2014 with the assistance of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration providing allegations of Diosdado Cabello heading an organization involved in international drug trade known as the Cartel of the Suns.
Early life and education
—Hugo Chávez 
When Hugo Chávez took office in early 1999, Salazar was among the most prestigious, young officers chosen to serve as one Chávez's honor guards. Salazar then not only provided security for Chávez, but was also his personal assistant. Following the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt, Chávez recognized Salazar as one of his defenders.
Following his experiences during the coup attempt in 2002, Salazar then decided to join Venezuela's special forces. After a helicopter demonstration performed by Salazar at the Parade of the Navy in 2006, Chávez once again recognized Salazar and asked Jesse Chacón, then Minister of Interior and Justice, to place Salazar on his security details for a second time at Miraflores Palace. Salazar was then reassigned and provided security for Chávez until 2013, when Chávez died of cancer.
Defection to the United States
Assistance of the DEA
In December 2014, Salazar defected to the United States after communicating with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration for about two months about Diosdado Cabello's alleged involvement with international drug trade. Salazar was then placed in witness protection, fleeing to the United States with assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Operations Division after cooperation with the administration and providing possible details on Cabello's involvement with international drug trade. Salazar claims that Cabello is the leader of the Cartel of the Suns, an alleged military drug trafficking organization in Venezuela. Salazar stated that he saw Cabello give orders on transporting tons of cocaine. The shipments of drugs were reportedly sent from FARC in Colombia and shipped to the United States and Europe, with the possible assistance of Cuba. The alleged international drug operation had possibly involved senior members of Venezuela's government as well, such as Tarek El Aissami and José David Cabello, Diosdado's brother.
Death of Hugo Chávez
After Salazar defected to the United States, he also said that the date that Hugo Chávez was to have allegedly died according to the Venezuelan government was wrong. With information from Salazar, ambassador to the Organization of American States, Guillermo Cochez, stated that Salazar said that Hugo Chávez died at 19:32 on 30 December 2012, contrasting the date Nicolás Maduro stated, which was 5 March 2013. This would be controversial since laws were passed in Chávez's name after the date Salazar stated he was to have died.
- "Diosdado Cabello dice que Salazar trabajaba con él pero no era jefe de seguridad". El Universo. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- Blasco, Emili J. (27 January 2015). "venezuelaLeamsy Salazar huye de Venezuela a Estados Unidos vía Madrid". ABC. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- Vyas, Kejal; Forero, Juan (27 January 2015). "Top Venezuelan Bodyguard Defects to U.S. In Washington, Leamsy Salazar Is Expected to Implicate Powerful Politician in Military-Run Cocaine-Smuggling Ring". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- Maria Delgado, Antonio (26 January 2015). "Identifican a Diosdado Cabello como jefe del Cartel de los Soles". El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Blasco, Emili J. (27 January 2015). "El jefe de seguridad del número dos chavista deserta a EE.UU. y le acusa de narcotráfico". ABC. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- "El jefe de Seguridad de Chávez declaró que el caudillo murió dos meses antes de la fecha oficial". Infobae. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.