Colombia, Venezuela, silent on alleged spy arrests

DISIP agents

DISIP agents

Caracas and Bogota are remaining silent on the arrests of eight alleged Colombian spies in northwest Venezuela. Eight people, members of a factory-owning family in Barinas, were charged with espionage last week, after Luis Carlos Cossio, 52, was allegedly caught photographing a telecommunications tower belonging to DISIP, Venezuela’s premier intelligence agency. Cossio, who is a dual Venezuelan-Colombian citizen, was arrested on Tuesday, along with his relative, Santiago Giraldo, 21. Two days later, Venezuelan counterintelligence agents raided the family’s factory in Barinas, arresting six more members of the same family. Colombian media report that at least two of the detainees, Cossio and Cruz Elva Giraldo, served in the same Colombian military unit in Medellin, namely the Colombian Army’s 4th Brigade. These latest arrests can be seen in the context of rapidly spiraling intelligence wars in Latin America, especially between Colombia and Venezuela, two countries which recently broke off all diplomatic relations. Last October, Caracas arrested an undisclosed number of Colombian intelligence agents, who were allegedly “captured carrying out actions of espionage”. In January of this year, the Colombian government announced the expulsion of two alleged Venezuelan intelligence agents, reportedly for conducting espionage operations on Colombian soil.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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