Carlos Varela is a businessman.
He is an expert in the Import/Export trade transporting wide varieties of merchandise from where they are sole to where they are needed; he has been doing so for quite a few years and knows the ports around the world intimately. In a rapidly changing world of the early 60s where his adventures take place, such familiarity is crucial to success.
His expertise extends to know which of those ports are the best places to choose when it is prudent to have custom officials who might be thought less scrupulous in their inspections and more open to small gratuities for their indulgences. Some people might be tempted to label him a smuggler but he would likely shake his head with a small smile and point out that smuggling was against the law and he, as far as anyone knows, has never been arrested. Well, nothing that stuck - there are always misunderstandings here and there but he has consistently talked his way out of them.
Varela is definitely not a spy for any country; he is first and only a businessman and has no desire to be anything but that. He does, however, regularly run into many of the clandestine trade who find it necessary to interact with him and his quite legitimate businesses. Some will try to piggyback their own missions onto his while others will be doing everything they can to keep him from succeeding.
Plus there are numerous times when Varela is simply at the wrong place at the right time, or vice versa, and his well-honed love of adventure forces him to step in when other, more prudent fellows might walk away quickly.
Varela is a tall, well-built man in his very late 30s with a slight downward hooded nose and lush black hair perpetually slicked straight back. He is consistently well dressed in light-weight, all white suits and in keeping with the fashion of the day, an equally white Panama hat of the finest cloth. When he frequently partakes of his favored panatelas, it is always at the end of a very long cigarette holder.
Varela will acquire a colleague named Bill Randall, a handsome somewhat younger man who proves to be quite useful in Varela's enterprises and who is tasked with representing him on several deals when situations force Varela to be absent.
-As explained by a high-ranking government official in a country where Verala frequently does business on accepting 'favors' from him, "One must be ready for all eventualities".