Admiral Ceballos shooting an SVD Dragunov sniper rifle at a demonstration. While not his firearm, Ceballos seems to be a gun enthusiast.
By Djiego Cura-Igama
As the second-highest-ranking official in the Venezuelan military, Admiral Remigio Ceballos serves as the commander of the Strategic Command Operations of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, or CEOFANB in its Spanish abbreviation. Because information about the Venezuelan military or its officials is sparse, there is not much known about Admiral Remigio Ceballos.
Remigio Ceballos Ichaso was born on the 1st of May, 1963. At some point, he joined the Venezuelan Navy and rose through the ranks quickly. Some of his various positions held during his career are the Director of Research, Training, and Doctrine of the Second Command and Headquarters of the General Staff of the General Command of the Bolivarian Militia, Commander of the Bolivarian Navy Infantry of the Naval Operations Command of the General Command of the Bolivarian Navy, and finally as the Vice-Minister for Planning and Development of Defense of the Ministry for Defense.
Then in 2016, he was appointed directly by Nicolás Maduro to head the Complex Security and Defense Plan, one of the many social programs under the Bolivarian mission. These are multifaceted social, economic, and military programs initiated by Hugo Chávez’s administration and continued by Maduro.
From 2017 until today, Ceballos is the Admiral-in-Chief of the Strategic Command Operations of Venezuela, a branch of the armed forces tasked with managing operations conducted by the armed forces of Venezuela. He is second in command of CEOFANB, as the position for Minister of Defense is held by General Vladimir Padrino López. Among the sparse documentation available featuring Admiral Ceballos, a handgun is often visible and present with him, as with all Venezuelan military officials. However, his numerous and well-dressed handguns, rifles, and submachine guns deviate from the standard and plain firearms found with other officers.
As with all NCOs and commissioned officers of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, Ceballos carries a personal handgun. NCOs will often carry standard-issue sidearms such as Hi-Powers or Beretta M9s. Officers will usually carry a wider array of privately purchased handguns such as Glock 19s or Sphinx 3000s as status symbols of their rank. Despite their elevated rank, Venezuelan generals and other commissioned officers tend to be very present and involved with their troops, partaking in training exercises or competition shoots, meaning a sidearm is always present with them during these functions.
Ceballos in particular has a plethora of relatively upscale and custom handguns, as well as primary weapons systems which were also personalized with aftermarket attachments such as foregrips, scopes, beaded front sights, and the like.
It is interesting to note that Venezuelan naming conventions dictate that more upper-class families will use traditional Spanish first names, and lower-class families often use English or Russian first names for their children. Ceballos in particular is an older Spanish surname, paired with his very Spanish first name Remigio, which indicates that Ceballos likely hails from a more aristocratic family, which would help fund his firearms interest.
Below is a list of known personal firearms carried by Admiral Ceballos.
Some of the most commonly photographed pistols in the hands of Ceballos are Glock models. Pictured below is what appears to be a 3rd generation Glock 34, identifiable by its olive drab lower frame, finger grooves, lengthened slide, and barrel cutout on the top of the slide.
Its aftermarket parts include green or red beaded front sights, a black flared mag well attachment, as well as extended magazine baseplates.
Arsenal Firearms Strike One
Another sidearm which accompanies Admiral Ceballos is the Arsenal Firearms Strike One. Because of the amicable relations Venezuela has with Russia, Strike One handguns are imported and used by certain units of the Bolivarian armed forces, such as the National Guard Gendarmerie. Ceballos’ Strike One is the olive drab framed variant.
This Glock 17 is also a 3rd generation model, as it also has the finger grooves and olive drab frame much like Ceballos’ Glock 34. His Glock 17 has a black beavertail grip adapter, and also possesses a black flared magwell attachment.
FN FNX-9 Tactical
A stark contrast to Admiral Ceballos’ collection of striker-fired handguns, the FNX-9 Tactical is a double-action/single-action hammer fired pistol. No modifications are made on this handgun, as it appears in its stock configuration. There is a possibility that the handgun is an FNX-45, but given Ceballos’ other handguns which are all in 9x19mm, it is highly likely that this is an FNX-9 chambered in the same caliber.
Russian AK-103’s are the standard service rifle for the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. One of Ceballos’ personalized 103s has a CAA RAS47 handguard set, TRUGLO Tru-Brite red dot sight, Leapers UTG ambidextrous folding foregrip, and a Harris-style picatinny mounted bipod. To the right is a weapon mounted light, which seems to be a Surefire X300 copy.
Highly Customized AK-103
Compared to the other rifles in Ceballos’ possession, this AK-103 seems to be the most customized. Sporting a Zenitco PT3 stock, Trijicon AccuPower scope on a Vortex mount, a CAA magazine release extension, SAG AK rail system, a FAB Defense TPOD G2 grip, and even a Zenitco RP-1 charging handle extension. What is likely a Holosun IR unit is mounted at the 12 o’clock position on top of the front handguard. The entire rifle and accessories are coated in a green, tan and brown paint scheme.
Although difficult to see, this MP5A3 has a CAA HX3 picatinny rail system mounted on the handguard. An EoTech 551 scope adorns the top of the rifle on a top mounted rail system, and the rifle itself is coated in a green, black and tan paint job.
Recently,Venezuelan military units received a small batch of CS/LS7 SMGs and QBZ-97B rifles from China. Admiral Ceballos is shown with his 97B, which has an EoTech XPS-2 mounted above.
By the looks of Ceballos’ firearm collection, it’s clear to see that he is an enthusiast and enjoys firearms, as well as carrying multiple different types of personalized pistols, rifles, and submachine guns, a trait that sets him apart from other generals and admirals. Venezuelan generals seem to prefer being out in the field with their troops with their weapons on display, with Ceballos’ guns being the most distinct.
Sanctions from the US and Europe make acquisition of western made firearms difficult, but as shown in the last set of photos, Ceballos seems eager to entertain adding Chinese and Russian guns to his arsenal. As Venezuelan relations shift towards the east, particularly towards Russia and China, Admiral Ceballos’ further weapons acquisitions from these two allies may reflect this new political alliance.