Washington (hooly News) – The United States announced Thursday that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and others close to him, have been charged with "narco-terrorism", further increasing pressure on the socialist leader whom they wish to oust.
Washington is offering a bonus of up to $ 15 million for any information that would stop him.
"We want him to be captured so that he can answer for his actions in a US court," Justice Minister Bill Barr said during a news conference held by videoconference over the new coronavirus.
Asked about the advisability of such an announcement in the midst of a health crisis, the minister judged that it was "the best way to support the Venezuelan people" who, like a third of humanity, are called to remain confined to their homes. after the confirmation of a hundred cases of Covid-19.
"Right now, we have to do everything we can to rid the country of this corrupt clique," said Bill Barr.
However, he declined to say whether the United States planned to intervene in Venezuela to arrest him or issue an extradition request against the president and his co-defendants.
"There are several options, but my hope is that the Venezuelan people will soon be in a position that will allow them to hand them over to us," he said.
– FARC and cocaine –
These charges are "a new form of coup on the basis of miserable, vulgar and unfounded accusations" by the administration of Donald Trump, sworn enemy of Chavista power, then rebelled Jorge Arreaza, minister of Foreign Affairs of Nicolas Maduro.
Besides the socialist president, the number two of the presidential party (PSUV), Diosdado Cabello, and several high ranking officers are suspected by Washington of having formed around 1999 "the cartel of los Soles" (the cartel of the suns) with reference to the badges placed on the uniforms of officers in Venezuela.
They are accused of having joined "an extremely violent terrorist organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in an effort to flood the United States with cocaine," said Barr.
The guerrillas signed a peace agreement in 2016, but "dissidents continue the drug trade and the armed struggle," said the minister. According to him, "they obtained the support of the Maduro regime which authorizes them to use Venezuela as a rear base".
Two FARC leaders are the subject of the indictment adopted by a New York court. The accused are liable to life imprisonment.
"Maduro deliberately used cocaine as a weapon" to devastate populations in the United States, assured federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman in charge of the file.
According to the indictment, he enriched himself in the process, notably accepting in 2006 five million dollars from the FARC after helping them launder money.
– The previous Noriega –
Prosecutions have also been initiated in Miami against the head of the Supreme Court of Venezuela, Maikel Moreno Perez, accused of "money laundering", and in Washington against Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez for drug trafficking.
The United States does not recognize Nicolas Maduro as President of Venezuela, just as it did not recognize Manuel Noriega as President of Panama when they charged him in 1989 for drug trafficking, said Bill Barr.
At the head of Venezuela since 2013, Nicolas Maduro was re-elected for a second term in 2018 after a boycott election by the opposition, which rejected the results, like much of the international community.
The United States, as well as sixty countries, support the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom they have recognized as interim president.
Julio Borges, appointed "commissioner for external relations" by Juan Guaido, also welcomed the charges announced Thursday. "The equation is simple: Maduro equals drug trafficking, Maduro equals organized crime," he said.
Washington is trying to suffocate the government of Nicolas Maduro with a series of economic sanctions. Donald Trump's stated objective is to help oust the successor of Hugo Chavez, a great slayer of "North American imperialism".
But the latter retains the support of China, Russia and Cuba, and support for Juan Guaido begins to run out of steam in the country.