Daily Journal staffer Jeremy Morgan: Attorney General Isaias Rodriguez has announced that another person had been detained in connection with the assassination of State Prosecutor Danilo Anderson a year ago. The arrest took place early on Wednesday, he added.

However, Rodriguez did not disclose the name of the person who had been detained, although he said that the individual would be brought before a court for questioning.

Neither did Rodriguez indicate as to whether the detained person was among those against whom he has issued arrest and custody orders as part of the investigation of Anderson’s death.

The late prosecutor perished instantly when a bomb blew up his car as he drove through a Caracas suburb on the night of November 18 last year.

Three men are in custody for months awaiting trial for placing the bomb, and the authorities maintain other people plotted to kill Anderson — the alleged “intellectual authors.” Among those recently named or charged in this connection are two generals, Jaime Escalante and Eugenio Anez Nunez, and three civilians: Nelson Mezerhane, an owner of the private sector television channel, Globovision; Patricia Poleo, a journalist renowned for her critical views of the government and a Cuban exile, Salvador Romani.

Rodriguez’ statement that another person had been detained in the investigation into the Anderson case, came as an earlier claim of his that he had a key witness came under a cloud of doubt. On Tuesday, the attorney general had named the witness as Jose Giovanni Vasquez de Armas, and described him as a Colombian psychiatrist. But the following day, El Nacional newspaper reported that an official at the Colombian Psychiatrists’ Association had said no person of that name was listed on its register.

This did not, however, prevent officials from insisting in the same newspaper that the man in question had much to say about the Anderson case, and that his person and profession had both been clearly established at a court hearing in Caracas last August 29. On that occasion, the report continued, he was brought before the court as a suspected member of the right-wing guerrilla group, the Self-Defense Units of Colombia. He was alleged to be the ranking number three in that organization.

Rodriguez’ decision to issue the arrest warrants at a politically sensitive time — the National Assembly (AN) elections are less than a month away — was again under question, and Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel came to his defense.

Speaking at a tribute to Anderson, Rangel claimed that the people who had behind the assassination were the same as those involved in attempts to dislodge the government.

Rangel drew a link between Anderson’s killers and people who he said had something to do with the crisis in April 2002 and the two-month national strike that began in December of that year. He went on to list a string of other incidents which included the bomb attacks against diplomatic premises in Caracas in February 2003.

  • Rangel did not names, but he said the media had launched a campaign to besmirch the official.

“Danilo died in one of the worst terrorist acts in the history of the country,” Rangel said, before going on to draw a grim picture of the implications for Venezuela and its people. “The people who killed Anderson … don’t have any scruples.”

Venezuelans had to be “very clear” about one thing at the moment, Rangel argued — namely, that nobody should interfere with or try to discredit the Anderson investigation until it was completed. “Nobody knows where it’s going to come out,” he said.