National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services

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National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services
Dirección Nacional de los Servicios de Inteligencia y Prevención
DISIP
Seal of the National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services

El Helicoide building in Caracas - former headquarters of DISIP
Agency overview
FormedMarch 19, 1969 (1969-03-19)
Preceding agency
DissolvedDecember 4, 2009 (2009-12-04)
Superseding agency
HeadquartersCaracas, Venezuela

DISIP (General Sectoral Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services) was an intelligence and counter-intelligence agency inside and outside of Venezuela between 1969 and 2009. DISIP was established in March 1969 by then-president Rafael Caldera, replacing the Directorate General of Police (DIGEPOL). Leadership of the agency was funded and organized by the Central Intelligence Agency during various periods ranging from the agency's founding date and into the 1980s. The agency's successor, the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), was created by President Hugo Chávez in 2009.

History[edit]

Origin[edit]

With the overthrow of dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez in January 1958, Venezuela was plunged into an acute institutional crisis in the police and security area, following the dismantling of the National Security, also called "political police"; the absence of a similar, moderately effective organization gives rise to impromptu Technical Services Criminology, an organization in the popular police jargon was known as Criminology, was a time of much confusion as it was beginning to take shape guerrilla activity and for that reason the political activism of opposition was severely punished.

On April 29, 1959, according to Executive Order No. 51, taking into account the need to define the roles and responsibilities of the various police forces, the general direction of police "DIGEPOL", DISIP's predecessor organization, which creates would have the task "to exercise and coordinate the entire national territory policing aimed at the preservation of order and public tranquility", according to its powers under the Ministry of Interior, in Article No. 18 of the Constitution of Ministries, without prejudice to the legal powers of the Judicial Technical Police and state police. With this decision, the powers of the criminal police, faculty and power of intelligence and state security were separated.

1960s[edit]

Creation of DISIP[edit]

Luis Posada Carriles, an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency and the first head of DISIP

When Rafael Caldera assumed his first presidency in the Venezuela, he ordered the dissolution of the DIGEPOL and signed Decree No. 15, dated March 19, 1969 giving birth to the Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention (DISIP.) The DISIP was used by the two main political parties of the Puntofijo Pact, Democratic Action (AD) and the Social Christian Party (COPEI), to detect and neutralize political adversaries similar to Pérez Jiménez's own Dirección de Seguridad Nacional.[1] DISIP, along with other intelligence agencies, were designed to be fragmented and under the direction of the president in order to prevent the organizations from wielding too much influence.[1]

The first head of DISIP was Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban dissident trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[2] Posada was a paid CIA agent throughout his leadership of DISIP, receiving funds from 1968 to 1976.[3] During his leadership, Posada was involved with the torture of left-wing activists in Venezuela.[4]

1970s[edit]

By the 1970s, the CIA was funding many upper-level officials of DISIP.[5] President Carlos Andrés Pérez placed Cuban dissidents at the head of DISIP during his first tenure, from 1974 to 1979.[1] After being invited by Posada, Cuban dissident Orlando Bosch joined DISIP in 1974.[2]

In the mid-1970s to the need to raise the technical level of the security agency was created Brigade speeches or Command groups led by the Commissioner General Henry Rafael López Sisco, who led major operations against leftist guerrillas in the field, these operations being considered DISIP as violations of human rights. In 1976, the leader of Revolutionary Left Movement and founder of the Socialist League, Jorge Antonio Rodríguez, was detained by DISIP agents, who tortured him to death.[6]

1980s[edit]

The DISIP was involved in the Cantaura massacre, occurred between 4 and 8 October 1982 where some dozens of DISIP agents with more than 400 soldiers from the Armed Forces killed 23 Front guerrilla fighters "Americo Silva", belonging to rural guerrilla group Red Flag.

During the administration of Ronald Reagan and under the direction of William J. Casey, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the DISIP was infiltrated further by Cuban dissident members of the CIA who supported the Contras during the Nicaraguan Revolution.[5] The role of Cuban dissidents in DISIP reached its peak during the second presidency of Carlos Andrés Pérez, from 1989 to 1993.[1] During the Caracazo, DISIP officers were reported to have beat detained protesters with baseball bats and pipes.[7]

1990s[edit]

In the 1990s, the DISIP forward intelligence operations against the rebel soldiers led by Hugo Chávez and Francisco Arias Cárdenas giving two attempted coup against President Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992, the national government of the time authorized actions to not investigate suspects of participants in the coup. In the particular case of November 27, 1992, officers of the Brigade of Interventions, Vehicular Patrol, the General Intelligence and Investigation Division faced by National Guard military rebels, the latter being defeated. DISIP facilities in El Helicoide in Caracas were bombed by the rebel air force.

Vargas shootings[edit]

During the presidency of Hugo Chávez, a crackdown against suspected looters in the state of Vargas following the 1999 mudslides became, according to Human Rights Watch, "the first major human rights test of the Chávez government. At first, Chávez dismissed the reports as 'suspicious' and 'superficial,' but the evidence soon obliged the president and other top government officials to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation."[8] According to PROVEA, DISIP officers, alongside military troops, were responsible for executing individuals believed to be engaged in looting.[8]

2000s[edit]

The Chávez administration distanced its intelligence services from the United States into the 2000s, instead partnering with Cuba, Lebanon and Libya for its DISIP operations, providing advisory offices for each nation in El Helicoide.[1] DISIP was also used to fund Bolivarian Circles to provide intelligence from poor areas.[1] Human Rights Watch expressed concern over DISIP (and National Guard) abuse in Venezuela in a 2004 personal letter to President Hugo Chávez.[9] Amnesty International also condemned excessive use of force by the DISIP, and the increasing polarization and political violence in Venezuela since Chávez's election into office in December 1998.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Myers, David J. (2003-01-01). "The Institutions of Intelligence in Venezuela: Lessons from 45 Years of Democracy". Iberoamericana – Nordic Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Stockholm University Press. 33 (1): 85. doi:10.16993/ibero.164. ISSN 2002-4509.
  2. ^ a b Bardach, Ann Louise (2002). Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana. Random House. pp. 184–186. ISBN 978-0-375-50489-1.
  3. ^ Jr, James C. McKinley (2011-01-10). "Terror Accusations, but Perjury Charges". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-02-22.
  4. ^ Carrillo, Karen Juanita (10 May 2007). "Protests set to decry release of Posada Carriles". New York Amsterdam News. p. 18.
  5. ^ a b Fonzi, Gaeton (November 1994). "The Troublemaker" (PDF). The Pennsylvania Gazette. pp. 18–25. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-04-29. Retrieved 2023-11-01.
  6. ^ "Rodríguez, Jorge Antonio". Fundación Empresas Polar. Diccionario de Historia de Venezuela.
  7. ^ López Maya, Margarita (February 2003). "The Venezuelan "Caracazo" of 1989: Popular Protest and Institutional Weakness". Journal of Latin American Studies. Cambridge University Press. 35 (1): 117–137. doi:10.1017/S0022216X02006673. S2CID 145292996. In this regard, the Caracazo was not such a spontaneous outburst as is commonly believed. We have found that anti-neoliberal student protest had been building in the previous days in Merida as well as other cities.
  8. ^ a b Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: Venezuela: Human Rights Developments
  9. ^ "Letter to President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (Human Rights Watch, April 12, 2004)". Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  10. ^ Venezuela: Fear for safety/use of excessive force | Amnesty International Archived 2004-03-22 at the Wayback Machine