The Trump Administration announced a sweeping indictment against Venezuelan President Maduro, former Venezulan National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, former Director of Military Intelligence Hugo Carvajal, General Clíver Antonio Alcalá, and two senior FARC commanders, charging them specifically with narco-terrorism, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Furthermore, the administration revealed a $15 million reward for information leading to Maduro’s capture or conviction. The Department of justice alleges that Maduro worked side by side with FARC, Colombian guerrillas, to transform Venezuela into a distribution point for cocaine flowing into the United States.
What It Means:
Described by AG Barr as a, "decade in the making," the charges harken back to the indictment against Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega. In that case, the United States eventually invaded Panama to capture Noriega. Any attempt to capture Maduro by military means, however, would be complicated by Russian and Cuban presence on the ground in Venezuela. The move could also result in the United States ruling against extending waivers for western oil companies operating in the country, meaning a major loss of income for the embattled regime. Those waivers are set to expire on April 22, 2020.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.