- "While the Venezuelan people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets with drug money and the proceeds of their corruption," Barr alleged.
- According to Barr, the FARC is shipping between 200 and 250 metric tons of cocaine every year through Venezuela’s airspace.
- The United States does not normally indict sitting heads of state.
The United States has filed an indictment against Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and four other associates for drug trafficking. The administration is offering a $15 million reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the president, and $10 million for each of his conspirators.
The associates include former Vice President Diosdado Cabello, Hugo Carvajal, former military intelligence head, retired army general Clíver Alcalá, and Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah, the nation’s industrial minister. The following is an excerpt from a communique published by Attorney General William Barr regarding the charges.
“As alleged, the Maduro regime is awash in corruption and criminality. Maduro and the other defendants have betrayed the Venezuelan people and corrupted Venezuela’s institutions. While the Venezuelan people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets with drug money and the proceeds of their corruption. This has to come to an end.”
According to Barr, the FARC is shipping between 200 and 250 metric tons of cocaine every year through Venezuela’s airspace. He revealed that high ranking officials of the current regime are key players in the scheme. “While holding key positions in the Maduro regime, these individuals violated the public trust by facilitating shipments of narcotics from Venezuela, including control over planes that leave from a Venezuelan airbase, as well as control of drug routes through the ports in Venezuela,” he said.
The evidence is based on investigations by agents from Miami, Houston, New York, and Washington, DC. The Trump administration has been tightening its noose around Maduro’s administration, which is regarded as extremely corrupt. Hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues from ratepayers have ended up in the personal accounts of Maduro and his henchmen.
Venezuela’s national revenues have been heavily dependent on oil exports, but the state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), has been embargoed and its assets and bank accounts in the US frozen. All businesses found dealing with the corporation face steep penalties and sanctions. As a result, PDVSA is presently facing a shortage of oil refinery composites that have to be imported. This has led to an oil shortfall and rationing.
The United States does not normally indict sitting heads of state. Maduro’s case is unique because America, as well as 60 other nations, have refused to acknowledge him as the country’s legitimate leader. The United States instead recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the official head of government, and has backed efforts to usurp Maduro.
The latest development douses any hopes of a leadership deal between Maduro and Guaido.