by WorldTribune Staff, March 27, 2020
The U.S. Justice Department on March 26 announced that socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro and several other Venezuelan government officials have been indicted on drug-trafficking charges, including efforts to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States.
The charges pertaining to Maduro’s conspiracy to commit narco-terrorism carry a minimum of 50 years in prison. The DOJ said that while Maduro is currently in Venezuela, the dictator is known to travel outside of the country. With that in mind, the DOJ said it is offering a $15 million reward for information that will lead to his capture.
The DOJ’s indictment accuses Maduro and other current and former officials in his socialist regime of conspiring with the U.S.-designated terrorist group known as the FARC, so that Venezuela could be used as a base for narcotics shipments smuggled on flights and boats through Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. the indictment was unveiled at a video news conference in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
Attorney General William Barr said at the virtual news conference that Maduro and several other senior officials offered their country as a “safe haven” to an “extremely violent terrorist organization” in Colombia, so the Venezuelan president and his allies could get rich off the drug trade and “flood the United States with cocaine.”
“Maduro and the other defendants have betrayed the Venezuelan people and corrupted Venezuela’s institutions,” Barr said. “While the Venezuela people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets with drug money and the proceeds of their corruption. This has to come to an end.”
Charged along with Maduro are Diosdado Cabello, a former president of the National Assembly who is considered the second most powerful political figure in Venezuela; Hugo Carvajal, a former director of military intelligence who is believed to be at large in Spain; Clíver Antonio Alcalá, a former general in the Venezuelan armed forces; and two senior FARC leaders.
The DOJ also accused Venezuela’s Chief Justice of money laundering and bribery, which resulted in thousands of Venezuelans losing their jobs and livelihoods. The department also accused Venezuela’s military chief of further drug-trafficking violations.
Maduro has managed to maintain his position at the helm in Caracas, overseeing the socialist regime and commanding the security forces despite the United States and more than 100 other countries no longer recognizing him as Veneuzuela’s leader.
Maduro’s indictment marks the second time that the U.S. government has brought criminal charges against a sitting foreign head of state. The last time was in 1989, when federal prosecutors in Miami indicted Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega on drug-trafficking charges, and U.S. military forces seized him late that year. Noriega was convicted at trial, imprisoned in the Miami area and died in 2017.