Venezuela’s authoritarian Nicolás Maduro is even more evil than the world knew: He’s not just driving his own country to ruin, he’s apparently a global drug kingpin, too.
The US Justice Department last week indicted Maduro and four of his lieutenants on drug-trafficking, money-laundering and corruption charges. It also charged two leaders of the Colombian revolutionary group FARC for colluding with Maduro “to flood the United States with cocaine.”
As Attorney General William Barr put it: “While the Venezuelan people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets with drug money and the proceeds of their corruption.”
The charges aim to root out “the extensive corruption within the Venezuelan government — a system constructed and controlled to enrich those at the highest levels of the government.”
In response, Maduro slammed President Trump as a “racist cowboy” and again vowed to fight any US invasion.
It’s well established that FARC and the supposedly populist ruling clique of Venezuela are deep in the international drug trade, but Maduro’s personal involvement is news.
What does it change? Well, he looks even scummier when you realize it’s pure greed, not horribly misplaced idealism, that moves him to retain power even as his rule is literally destroying Venezuela. The economy has crumbled; malnutrition and starvation are rampant; millions continue to flee the country.
And the hospitals are overwhelmed now, when warm weather is largely keeping the coronavirus at bay. With the Southern Hemisphere headed into winter, a new nightmare beckons.
No US invasion is in the cards — but Venezuela’s neighbors may wind up having to intervene in self-defense before the nation becomes a country-sized Typhoid Mary.
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