Figuera and His Change of Opinions
By: Alejandra Herrera
On April 30th, skirmishes erupted in Venezuela between anti-government protests and law enforcement officers as Juan Guaidó called for the population to rise up against Nicolás Maduro. Since this incident, many analysts are attempting to establish the role played by General Manuel Ricardo Christopher Figuera, who was the acting head of Venezuela’s secret police. Figuera was known for many years as a “diehard Chavist loyalist.” However, his name was mentioned in several local Venezuelan media reports as being a leader in the uprising. After the uprising, Figuera is credited to writing a letter on the afternoon of April 30th. This was quoted by Venezuelan news website Efecto Cocuyo, and began with Figuera’s allegiance to Maduro as his, “commander in chief”. However, it later says that, “the state of disrepair in which the Fatherland is submerged is not a secret for anybody, and it would be irresponsible of me to blame only the North American empire [US]”. This simultaneous approval of Maduro and disapproval of Maduro’s government has caused much consternation as to Figueras true allegiance.
Later, in the evening of April 30th, President Maduro announced the reappointment of General Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez as the head of the secret police, who had been replaced by Figuera in October 2018. Subsequently, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed sanctions on Figuera who they report “broke ranks with the Maduro regime and rallied to the support of Venezuelan constitution and national assembly”. Since this time, no official report has come out as to Figuera’s whereabouts or purported allegiance; however, with the U.S treasury removing sanctions on Figuera it appears that he has broken ranks with Maduro.
 “Explainer: Was Venezuela’s secret police chief part of the uprising?” BBC Monitoring May 1, 2019
 U.S. Department of The Treasury. “Treasury Removes Sanctions Imposed on Former High-Ranking Venezuelan Intelligence Official After Public Break with Maduro and Dismissal” U.S. Department of The Treasury Press Release, May 7, 2019