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¡Luchando Contra El Narco Estado, Terrorista, Antisemita y Criminal de Venezuela!

martes, mayo 19, 2015

Will narcostate revelations sober State Department’s attempts to coddle Venezuelan regime?

By Roger Noriega - InterMaerican Security Watch
Yesterday’s blockbuster Wall Street Journal article revealing ongoing US criminal investigations into the involvement of “several high-ranking Venezuelan officials” in international drug trafficking will not have come as a surprise to anyone who has read my Congressional testimony and other reports on the subject in recent years.

Key allegations uncovered by this inquiry, which is being led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and federal prosecutors in New York and Miami, include:

The “main target” of law enforcement is National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, “considered the country’s second most-powerful man,” whom a Justice Department official characterized as “one of the heads, if not the head, of the cartel.”

The investigation has intensified in the last two years, aided by the defection of Venezuelan naval officer Leamsy Salazar, one-time bodyguard to the late strongman Hugo Chávez and senior aide to Cabello, and Rafael Isea, a Chávez loyalist who left Venezuela in 2013.

Former Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami, current governor of the state of Aragua, conspired with cocaine kingpin Walid Makled to smuggle drugs through Venezuela, abetted by dozens of Venezuelan military officers.

Although the Journal report states that, “prosecutors aren’t targeting President Nicolás Maduro,” it notes that Maduro praised another accused narcotrafficker, former military intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal, as “a dedicated anti-drug fighter….” My sources say that Venezuelan defectors have confirmed that Maduro knew that his 2013 presidential campaign—which opposition leaders claim he stole—was funded with the proceeds from narcotrafficking.

This published account in a major US daily newspaper by two seasoned reporters citing over a dozen sources will come as a relief to publishers from over a dozen news outlets in Venezuela who have been threatened by Cabello for merely quoting or republishing similar stories from foreign journalists. The Journal article also confirms key allegations made by Emili Blasco, a reporter of the Spanish daily ABC, who authored a book “Chávez Boomerang” quoting Salazar and other defectors regarding criminality in the Venezuelan regime.

US law enforcement and federal prosecutors should be credited for pressing forward with this investigation, notwithstanding the headache that exposing Venezuela’s government as a narco-state will cause for the Obama administration’s inclination to favor stability over the rule of law. US Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William R. Brownfield was quoted in January as confirming significant evidence of narco-corruption in the Venezuelan government.

However, the Western Hemisphere Affairs bureau has doggedly pursued a rapprochement with the Maduro regime despite its deteriorating human rights record and mounting evidence of criminality.

Sources close to the Venezuela investigation suggest that the State Department is none too pleased by the revelations about narco-corruption. It is interesting to note that key witnesses cooperating with this investigation reached the United States under paroles issued by the Department of Homeland Security rather than visas issued by the US Embassy in Caracas. Indeed, several Venezuelan sources seeking to cooperate with US authorities have complained privately that their visas were either refused or canceled by the State Department before they could travel to meet with investigators.

Certainly State Department officials know better than to try to interfere with a federal criminal investigation now that prosecutors have assembled documentary evidence and witnesses to make their case. However, they have to be prepared to deal with the fallout, as the revelations splinter and destabilize a regime already teetering on the brink of collapse.

Just how “normal” can relations be between the United States and a notorious narco-state? Some in the State Department seem carelessly determined to find out.

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posted by Aserne Venezuela @ 8:02 p.m. 

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