Skip to main content

NARCO STATE OF CUBAZUELA : A drug cartel’s power in Venezuela












Opinions





Diosdado Cabello, head of Venezuela's National Assembly. (Marco Bello/Reuters)





Deputy editorial page editor 





Jackson Diehl is deputy editorial page editor of The Post. He is an editorial writer specializing in foreign affairs and writes a biweekly column that appears on Mondays.View Archive
RSS






May 24








Venezuela is afflicted with the world’s highest inflation, its second highest murder rate and crippling shortages of food, medicine and basic consumer goods. 


Its authoritarian government is holding some 70 political prisoners, including the mayor of Caracas and senior opposition leader Leopoldo López, and stands accused by human rights groups of illegal detentions, torture and repression of independent media.








All of that is now pretty well known, and it is finally beginning to gain some attention from Latin American leaders who for years did their best to appease or ignore Hugo Chávez and his “Bolivarian Revolution.” 



What’s less understood is the complicating factor that will make any political change or economic reconstruction in this failing state far more difficult: The Chávez regime, headed since his demise by Nicolás Maduro, harbors not just a clique of crackpot socialists, but also one of the world’s biggest drug cartels.



Ever since Colombian commandos captured the laptop of a leader of the FARC organization eight years ago, it’s been known that Chávez gave the Colombian narcoguerrillas sanctuary and allowed them to traffic cocaine from Venezuela to the United States with the help of the Venezuelan army. 



But not until a former Chávez bodyguard defected to the United States in January did the scale of what is called the Cartel of the Sunsstart to become publicly known.





According to multiple news accounts, Leamsy Salazar has been cooperating with U.S. federal prosecutors who are developing criminal cases against a host of senior Venezuelan generals and government officials. 



Chief among them is the man Salazar began guarding after Chávez’s death: Diosdado Cabello, the president of the National Assembly and the second most powerful member of the regime after Maduro.





The day after Salazar’s arrival in Washington, Spain’s ABC newspaper published a detailed account of the emerging case against Cabello, and last month, ABC reporter Emili Blasco followed up with a book laying out the allegations of Salazar and other defectors, who say Cuba’s communist regime and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah have been cut in on the trafficking. 




That was followed by a lengthy report last week in the Wall Street Journal that said Cabello’s cartel had turned Venezuela into “a global hub for cocaine trafficking and money laundering.”





Cabello has responded with the regime’s most familiar tactic: an assault on the press. 



Last month he brought defamation suits against 22 journalists from three Venezuelan news organizations that published accounts of Blasco’s reporting, including El Nacional, the one remaining independent national newspaper. 


In early May, a judge imposed the penalty Cabello sought without bothering to hold a trial; the regime long ago captured the judiciary.



 The journalists were banned from leaving the country and ordered to appear for weekly court check-ins.



The order came down as El Nacional’s publisher, Miguel Henrique Otero, was traveling abroad. 

Last week he flew to Washington to seek support from the Organization of American States. 



The regime, he told me, is desperate to deflect the drug trafficking allegations, which could destroy what remains of its international credibility. 


While leftists in Latin America and the United States have been willing to overlook assaults on the opposition and media, “nobody wants to associate with drug traffickers,” Otero said.




“This is a very serious blow to the regime,” Otero said.



“Their only way of combatting it is to claim it is a right-wing conspiracy directed in Miami and Madrid, and to say that the press that report the charges are part of it.”



It’s not clear whether or when U.S. prosectors will bring charges against Cabello and his associates, but arrests look unlikely.


 A U.S. attempt to capture one senior general, former military intelligence chief  Hugo Carvajal, in Aruba last year failed.


 But the leaking of the cartel case and any charges, if made public, could divide as well as isolate the regime. 


Cabello leads one of three “families” that Otero says are battling for Chávez’s legacy; the others are headed by Maduro and by Chávez’s daughter


Only Cabello is linked to the cocaine shipments, and there are drug-free elements in the military leadership.




Like many opposition leaders, Otero is hopeful that Venezuela can resolve its crisis through democracy. 



If an election for the National Assembly due this year is held and is fair, the opposition should win handily. 



But Maduro’s term extends to 2019 — and those in the regime tied to drug trafficking, and vulnerable to U.S. prosecution, will not willingly surrender power. 



Could rival elements of the regime or military move against them? 



Says Otero: “The situation is so dramatic and so catastrophic that the probability of some kind of event occurring is high.”










Read more from Jackson Diehl’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.








http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-drug-cartels-power-in-venezuela/2015/05/24/9bc0ff14-ffd6-11e4-8b6c-0dcce21e223d_story.html?postshare=5241432512271769









Popular posts from this blog

MEET MELANIA TRUMP: The 5'11" supermodel married to Donald Trump

Aly Weisman, INSIDER

Sep. 2, 2015, 3:28 PM 











Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images







While Donald Trump loves to be the center of media attention, his third and current wife, Melania Trump, is a bit more camera shy.










The Slovenian-born model keeps a lower profile than her husband, doing philanthropy work, raising their son, working on a jewelry collection with QVC, and creating a $150-an-ounce caviar moisturizer.




With Trump on the campaign trail, Melania has stoically stood by his side.




But who exactly is Melania and where did she come from? Learn about Trump's other half here ...





Melania Knauss was born April 26, 1970, in Slovenia.




Wikimedia/Getty







The 5'11" brunette began her modeling career at 16, and signed with a modeling agency in Milan at 18.



Chris Hondros/Newsmakers via Getty









She took a break from modeling to get her degree in design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.








Wikimedia/Getty

Source: MelaniaTrump.com









But after graduating, her modeling career took off and Me…

THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER MANGOES IN THE WORLD ....

While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
Perhaps it is time for a GLOBAL taste test ???





In alphabetical order by Country....










India




Alphonso





Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia








Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 


It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

INDIA 2016 : Mango production in state likely to take a hit this year

TNN | May 22, 2016, 12.32 PM IST






Mangaluru: Vagaries of nature is expected to take a toll on the production of King of Fruits - Mango - in Karnataka this year. A combination of failure of pre-monsoon showers at the flowering and growth stage and spike in temperature in mango growing belt of the state is expected to limit the total production of mango to an estimated 12 lakh tonnes in the current season as against 14 lakh tonnes in the last calendar year.



However, the good news for fruit lovers is that this could see price of mangoes across varieties decrease marginally by 2-3%. This is mainly on account of 'import' of the fruit from other mango-growing states in India, said M Kamalakshi Rajanna, chairperson, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd.




Karnataka is the third largest mango-growing state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.



Inaugurating a two-day Vasanthotsava organized by Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama and the Corporation at P…