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Q & A on Venezuela's Nuclear Ambitions

Aleksander Boyd interviews Kenneth Rijock

London 06.03.06 | Kenneth Rijock, financial crime consultant, has recently made some allegations, specifically about the Chavez regime willingness to purchase nuclear heads from North Korea. Towards that end, Rijock argues that Guillermo Garcia Ponce -meant to be one of the most respected ideologues behind the Bolivarian revolution, has traveled in 8 occasions to that country. What follows is a set of question posed to Kenneth Rijock.

1.- Kenneth, how do you know that Garcia Ponce has traveled 8 times to North Korea?

His brother, who is also a committed Marxist, has made that exact statement.

2.- You argue that the purpose of said trips is to purchase nuclear warheads/missiles. How did you come to that conclusion?

Sources inside Venezuela have reached that conclusion, not yours truly. North Korea exports missiles and has developed nuclear weapons; they need hard currency to purchase goods from the West. There's nothing else inside North Korea of any possible interest to the Chavez regime, who has openly stated that he wishes to acquire nuclear technology. I agree, as do Venezuelan engineers living in Miami who have contacts inside Venezuela. Garcia Ponce could not have any legitimate reason to go to North Korea so many times if not to purchase nuclear technology on behalf of Hugo Chavez.

3.- Who are your sources of information in that respect?

Besides the brother, former Venezuelan intelligence officers have confidentially advised me that Garcia Ponce is involved in purchasing nuclear technology. This is equipment necessary to develop nuclear weapons, not the bomb themselves.

4.- You contend that North Korean soldiers have been seen inside Venezuelan military facilities wearing Chinese fatigues. What proof have you got to back up that claim?

For the past 4 years, I have heard from witnesses who have seen these soldiers, some actually inside Fuerte Tiuna. Obviously they don't have any photographs, because the fort is a high security area, but perhaps someone will come forward after reading your story to supply that proof.

5.- In your view, the Venezuelan armed forces (FAV) are in denial of these allegations and continue to ignore them. How did you come up to that, that is to say, how do you know that the FAV are in the know? Who told you and why?

The FAV have no un/classified nuclear program, and no rumors have emerged that they are secretly developing one. But the presence of Iranian and North Korean governmental officials, and the rapid expansion of trade and commerce with Iran make it obvious that these two countries, both of which are focused on nuclear weapons development, now have a close relationship with Venezuela. FAV leaders must see this, as they have access to G-S as well as the public media, but there has been no indication of actions undertaken to uncover the details of the program. If members of the Bolivarian elite control the program they would be in a position to make decisions that affect Venezuelan defence matters. This cannot stand, as civilians cannot create offensive military weapons without military control and safeguards.

6.- You have stated that Venezuela and Iran have entered into an agreement whereby Iranian late-model Shebab intercontinental ballistic missiles will be shipped to Cuba via Venezuela inside oil tankers. What sort of evidence have you seen to date that could demonstrate that such is the case, and more importantly which is the source of such evidence?

This information was supplied by a confidential source working in Isla de Margarita to US law enforcement agencies in 2004. It has not been made public, but I am aware of the source and his information from personal knowledge.

7.- Some people argue that your past forfeits the credibility that your allegations may have. In that sense could you expand upon the reasons of your recent interest in Venezuelan politics? Further, are you in any way in connection with American intelligence agencies?

I have been writing about financial crime in Venezuela for some time for the British banking compliance website COMPLINET. Whenever money laundering occurs in the Western Hemisphere, it is important that the financial community is made aware of it. This is a professional interest, I have no interest in Venezuelan politics as such. Rather my interest is in criminal activities. For those who question my credibility due to my background, I suggest a look at the 1999 and 2000 US Congressional record, where I testified on behalf of new anti-money laundering legislation that became the USA Patriot Act of 2001. The last time I worked for the United States in any capacity was when I served in the US Army in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1969 and 1970. I am not now, nor have ever been, employed by any US intelligence agency.

Kenneth Rijock can be reached at kennethrijock at

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