The Justice Department will announce today indictments against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and several of his cronies on charges of narco-terrorism.
The charge that Maduro has been working with the State Department-designated Columbian terrorist group FARC is not new. It’s been no secret that Maduro has been in league with FARC for years.
What’s new is that Justice Department prosecutors have been able to build a case against the Venezuelan president that they could bring to court.
An indictment, to be unveiled at a “virtual” news conference in Washington, D.C., accuses Maduro and other top officials in his socialist regime of conspiring with the U.S.-designated terrorist group known as the FARC so that Venezuela could be used for narcotics shipments to finance a long-running civil war against the Colombian government.
Charged along with Maduro are Diosdado Cabello, a former speaker of the National Assembly who is considered the second most powerful political figure in Venezuela, and Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the country’s minister of defense. All three Venezuelan officials face allegations of narco-terrorism, drug trafficking and weapons violations in a scheme initiated in the mid-2000s that was meant to help the Colombian rebel group while enriching themselves with cocaine-tainted bribes, according to federal authorities.
Maduro should take note. The last national leader to be indicted was Manuel Noriega of Panama, who witnessed 25,000 U.S. Marines enter his country before being deposed.
Maybe Maduro is thinking of going on an extended vacation until this whole thing blows over. My advice is get comfortable; you won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
In announcing Maduro’s indictment, Attorney General William Barr is expected to say that the U.S. government will offer a $15 million reward to anyone who provides information on when Maduro leaves Venezuela that assists in his capture.
We’ve known corrupt regimes in the past. But from top to bottom, almost the entire Maduro government appeared to be on the take. Not only the president, the speaker of the assembly, and defense minister took bribes, but also Maikel Moreno, the president of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in Venezuela and the top judicial official in the country. Other officials have already been indicted along with oil company executives and corrupt private businessmen.
Sounds like Chicago, only worse.
The key to the whole scheme is apparently Cabello, who appears to have been facilitator and enabler.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been investigating Cabello for years, claiming he is the leader of the so-called Cartel de los Soles — Cartel of the Suns — a powerful criminal organization consisting of military officers and officials of the Maduro regime that controls most drug-trafficking operations in Venezuela.
U.S. investigators have been collecting evidence and testimony from former regime and Venezuelan military officials about Cabello’s involvement in the cartel, which began by providing protection to Colombian drug traffickers but ended up shoving them aside to take over the illicit trade in partnership with Colombian guerrillas, the FARC.
Will the Venezuelan people be able to rid themselves of the stink from this crew? Once corruption like this takes root, it proves nearly impossible to cleanse. Middle Eastern regimes are notoriously corrupt and have been since they were given their independence from their colonial masters. Even revolutions usually fail to end the corruption.
You can only hope that when the Venezuelan people finally rouse themselves and throw off the tyranny and corruption of Maduro, that something and someone better replace him.