Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chávez’

El poder de un cártel de la droga en Venezuela

| May 25th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

Por Jackson Diehl

[Traducción IASW]

Venezuela sufre de la inflación más alta del mundo, es el segundo país con más homicidios y tiene una escasez paralizante de alimentos, medicinas y bienes de consumo básico. Su gobierno autoritario tiene preso a 70 políticos, entre ellos al alcalde de Caracas y al líder de la oposición Leopoldo López. A Venezuela también se le acusa de violaciones a los derechos humanos, de tortura, de detenciones ilegales y de represión contra los medios de comunicación independientes.

Todo esto es bien conocido y finalmente está comenzando a ganar un poco de atención por parte de líderes latinoamericanos que durante años hicieron todo lo posible para apaciguar o ignorar a Hugo Chávez y a su “Revolución Bolivariana”. Lo que se entiende menos es el factor que hará mucho más difícil que se implementen cambios políticos o económicos: El régimen de Chávez, dirigido desde su muerte por Nicolás Maduro, no ... Read More

A drug cartel’s power in Venezuela

| May 25th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Jackson Diehl

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 ... Read More

Will the Venezuelan State Fail?

| May 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

By Carl Meacham

On May 18, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. prosecutors are in the process of investigating a number of high-up Venezuelan officials for their alleged involvement in turning Venezuela into a cocaine-trafficking and money-laundering hub.

Among those being investigated is Diosdado Cabello, president of Venezuela’s congress and arguably the second most powerful person in Venezuela-long suspected for involvement in clientelistic relationships with transnational criminal organizations operating in Venezuela’s borders.

The investigation is being carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and federal prosecutors in New York and Miami – notably, this is not under the White House’s direction or coordination. And the case they’re building has foundations in the testimony of former cocaine traffickers, defectors from the Venezuelan military, and informants who were once close to top Venezuelan officials, including the former head of Cabello’s security detail.

All of this comes to light just months ... Read More

Venezuela’s #2 targeted in U.S. drug probe has faced slew of corruption allegations

| May 21st, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

By Franz von Bergen

CARACAS, VENEZUELA –  The man at the center of a major U.S. drug-trafficking investigation involving top members of the Venezuelan government is the Speaker of the National Assembly and the country’s second most powerful man, 53-year-old Diosdado Cabello Rondón.

A longtime ally of late President Hugo Chavez, whom he met while in the Military Academy back in the 80s, Cabello is known these days as Chavismo´s main bully and has repeatedly been accused of corruption.

As President Nicolas Maduro, and President Chavez before him, Cabello also has his own weekly TV show television, in which he mostly attacks opposition leaders and other “enemies” of the so-called revolution. He calls his sources “patriotas cooperantes” (cooperating patriots), infiltrated revolutionary agents who work all over the country collecting data about possible conspiracies against the government or other politically useful information.

After Chávez’s death in 2013, Cabello ... Read More

Venezuela Sues the Messenger

| May 21st, 2015 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Mac Margolis

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro can’t catch a break.

When a 54-year-old woman from northern Venezuela, desperate to own her own home, scrawled a message on a mango and flung it at Maduro’s head in late April, she inspired scores of copycats, a send-up by John Oliver and a smartphone game app, Maduro Mango Attack, which has been downloaded at least 100,000 times.

In his prime, the late Hugo Chavez might have grabbed a microphone and whipped up morale with some of his patented Bolivarian blunderbuss, but Maduro inspires mostly derision.

Two of three Venezuelans say the stumbling heir to Chavez’s revolution for “21st-Century socialism” is doing a lousy job, and now U.S. authorities have named Maduro’s right-hand companero, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, as a leading suspect in a Venezuela-based global drug trafficking hub.

Inflation is speeding to 200 percent this year, foreign reserves are vanishing, and the World Bank says the ... Read More

Estados Unidos centra investigaciones sobre narcotráfico en funcionarios de alto rango venezolanos

| May 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

Por MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

[Traducción por IASW]

WASHINGTON – Autoridades venezolanas de alto rango son objeto de una investigación por parte de autoridades estadounidenses. Esto como parte de una amplia pesquisa sobre la distribución de cocaína en el hemisferio occidental, dijeron funcionarios de procuración de justicia estadounidenses el martes.

La investigación, que involucra acusaciones de lavado de dinero y tráfico de droga, está siendo gestionada por la Administración de Control de Drogas (DEA), y se centra en uno de los políticos más poderosos de Venezuela, el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional Diosdado Cabello, de acuerdo con funcionarios que solicitaron el anonimato para discutir la investigación en curso.

No está claro lo que planean hacer con la evidencia los fiscales en Estados Unidos sobre el Sr. Cabello y otros. Los Estados Unidos y Venezuela han tenido durante mucho tiempo tensas relaciones, por lo que es poco probable que las autoridades de Caracas entregarían a líderes de alto ... Read More

U.S. Focuses on Top Venezuelan Officials in a Broad Cocaine Inquiry

| May 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

WASHINGTON — Senior Venezuelan officials are under investigation by the American authorities as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into the distribution of cocaine in the Western Hemisphere, American law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

The investigation, which involves allegations of money laundering and trafficking, is being led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is focused on one of Venezuela’s most powerful politicians, Diosdado Cabello, the National Assembly president, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss an active case.

It is not clear what United States prosecutors plan to do with any evidence they may have collected on Mr. Cabello and others. The United States and Venezuela have long had strained relations, making it unlikely that the authorities in Caracas would hand over high-profile leaders if they were charged.

The prosecutors, however, could make ... Read More

El número dos venezolano, Cabello, envió droga a Europa vía España

| May 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01

POR EMILI J. BLASCO

Estados Unidos está cerrando el cerco en torno a altos cargos venezolanos implicados en el narcotráfico, con una investigación abierta sobre Diosdado Cabello, presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, siguiendo acusaciones de testigos que dibujan una situación de narcoestado. Así lo adelantó ya a finales de enero ABC y así lo publicó ayer «The Wall Street Journal».

Pero la droga que sale de Venezuela -el noventa por ciento de la producción de Colombia se distribuye desde suelo venezolano; unas cinco toneladas semanales- no solo va a Estados Unidos, sino que también llega a Europa, con España como punto importante en las rutas que siguen las mafias, entre ellas principalmente el cártel de los Soles, la organización paraestatal del narco venezolano. Su nombre viene de los soles que llevan los generales venezolanos en la charretera.

De acuerdo con fuentes próximas a la Administración para el Control ... Read More

Venezuela Exposed As A Narcosocialist Plague

| May 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
Investor's Business Daily

Narcosocialism: U.S. prosecutors and DEA agents are closing in on Venezuelan leaders for running a narcostate. This is the nation Obama has repeatedly indulged in the name of getting along. Now we know who they are.

Back in March, President Obama startled many by calling Venezuela “the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” as he slapped sanctions on seven corrupt Venezuelan officials for involvement with drug trafficking and human rights abuses.

A month after that, he made a U-turn, making nice with the dictatorship at April’s Summit of the Americas. After tears and flapdoodle about the sanctions from Venezuela’s Marxist dictatorship, Obama declared that Venezuela wasn’t a threat after all.

He was right the first time. A front page story in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. prosecutors and Drug Enforcement Administration officials — acting independently of politics or diplomacy — have put together ... Read More

NYC’s most legendary prosecutor sees a darker threat in Venezuela’s alleged global cocaine hub

| May 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
Business Insider

BY LINETTE LOPEZ

On Monday the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States is investigating high-level Venezuelan government officials for allegedly turning their country into a global cocaine hub.

Robert Morgenthau, the legendary former Manhattan District Attorney, has been making exactly that accusation for years. And for him, the Venezuelan government’s questionable activity doesn’t stop at drug running.

As early as 2009, Morgenthau was telling anyone that would listen about ties that his office was finding between the cocaine that ended up in New York City, the Venezuelan government, and Iran and its agents like the terror group Hezbollah.

From a Wall Street Journal op-ed he wrote in 2009 (emphasis ours):

A recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study reported a high level of corruption within the Venezuelan government, military and law enforcement that has allowed that country to become a major transshipment route for trafficking cocaine out of Colombia. Intelligence ... Read More

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

| May 19th, 2015 | No Comments »
AEI

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 ... Read More

Funcionarios venezolanos, bajo sospecha de convertir el país en un centro global de la cocaína

| May 18th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

POR JOSÉ DE CORDOBA Y JUAN FORERO

Fiscales de Estados Unidos investigan a varios altos funcionarios venezolanos, entre ellos al presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, bajo la sospecha de que han convertido el país en un centro global de tráfico de cocaína y lavado de dinero, según más de una decena de personas al tanto de las indagaciones.

Una división élite de la Administración para el Control de Drogas (DEA, por sus siglas en inglés) en Washington y fiscales federales en Nueva York y Miami están construyendo casos utilizando pruebas aportadas por ex traficantes de cocaína, informantes que eran cercanos a altos funcionarios venezolanos y desertores de las fuerzas armadas venezolanas, revelaron estas personas.

Un blanco importante, según un funcionario del Departamento de Justicia y otras autoridades estadounidenses, es el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, Diosdado Cabello, considerado el segundo hombre más poderoso del país.

“Hay amplia evidencia para justificar que él es una ... Read More

Frustration with Latin America’s left on the rise as leaders hit by economic slowdown, scandal

| May 18th, 2015 | No Comments »
Star Tribune

By JOSHUA GOODMAN

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s socialist government is struggling to put food on the shelves amid runaway inflation. Brazil’s president is facing calls for impeachment. And even Cuba’s communist government, an iconic touchstone for generations of leftists, is embracing closer ties with the U.S.

Whether it’s because of corruption scandals or stagnant growth, the popularity of the crop of leftist Latin American governments that have been running the region since the start of the millennium appears to be waning. Voters that embraced what became known as the pink tide that swept away the pro-Washington, free-market policies dominant in the 1990s are increasingly tuning hostile against the populist firebrands they once rallied behind.

Across the region, polling numbers are tanking and street protests are on the rise.

Triggering the growing disenchantment are some serious economic headwinds. Most leaders came into power just as China’s economy was ... Read More

Wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez speaks in US

| May 15th, 2015 | No Comments »
CNBC-01

By Silvana Ordoñez & Michelle Caruso-Cabrera

For 5-year-old Manuela, the “magic word” is not please or thank you, it’s “libertad”—the Spanish word for freedom. That’s the term she’s heard her mother say repeatedly in the 15 months since her father, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, has been in prison.

“We are going to free daddy,” Lilian Tintori told her daughter in Spanish during a roundtable at the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday.

Tintori was in Washington to accept an award on her husband’s behalf from the nonprofit National Endowment for Democracy. While here, she spoke about her husband’s situation to members of the Council on Foreign Relations, an influential foreign policy organization.

Her Washington trip comes as the health of the Venezuelan economy continues to hit new lows. The country’s black-market exchange rate fell below 300 bolivars per U.S. dollar on Thursday. In 2012, a dollar exchanged for 10 bolivars, and even as recently ... Read More

New Evidence of Iran’s Presence in Latin America

| May 13th, 2015 | No Comments »
Center for Security Policy

BY LUIS FLEISCHMAN

A new book written by Emili Blasco, Washington correspondent for the newspaper, ABC Spain, confirms many points about Iran’s penetration into the Western Hemisphere. The book is written is Spanish but its title in English would be translated as “Boomerang Chavez”.

Among other things Blasco points out the existence of fraud in the elections via electronic manipulation. Likewise, the author also stresses the fact that 95% of the Colombian drugs bound for Europe and the U.S. depart from Venezuela. Blasco also confirms the point that I raised in my book “Latin America in the Post Chavez Era”, which has been brought first by the scholar Max Mainwaring (and most recently by Ari Chaplin), that drug trafficking is a form of asymmetric war against Washington. Diosdado Cabello, currently the President of the National Assembly along with the current Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, ... Read More

Hezbollah en América Latina: el narcotráfico, su principal fuente de financiamiento

| May 11th, 2015 | No Comments »
Infobae

Las actividades delictivas del grupo terrorista Hezbollah en la región continúan su ascenso sin que ninguna alarma se encienda en los Gobiernos de América Latina. Incluso en muchos casos, las autoridades de algunas administraciones regionales son cómplices de sus movimientos. Tráfico de drogas, de armas, de influencias, lavado de dinero y otras maniobras ilícitas son las elegidas por las células que la agrupación libanesa mantiene a lo largo de esta parte del mundo.

Desde 2006 a la fecha, fue sobre todo el narcotráfico la vía que más dinero aportó al financiamiento de Hezbollah. Bajo diferentes fachadas, jefes regionales del grupo terrorista se instalaron en diferentes ciudades latinoamericanas para tapar sus verdaderos propósitos. Mezquitas, centros culturales islámicos, comercios y otras organizaciones sin apariencia política reúnen a cientos de fieles, quienes en muchos casos son “utilizados” por la agrupación extremista.

Es la Triple Frontera (conformada por Paraguay, Brasil y la Argentina) la “capital” de ... Read More

Chávez condonó secretamente millonaria deuda de Nicaragua con Venezuela

| May 11th, 2015 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

Por Antonio Maria Delgado

Según documentos internos obtenidos por el Nuevo Herald, Chávez ordenó al Fondo Nacional para el Desarrollo Nacional (FONDEN) que realizara el pago de la deuda contraída por el país centroamericano ante el Banco de Desarrollo Económico y Social de Venezuela (BANDES).

Los documentos, obtenidos a través de integrantes del equipo del FONDEN encargado de la auditoria interna, también documentan una serie de curiosos desembolsos a organizaciones africanas vinculadas al fallecido dictador libio Muamar Gadafi, operaciones el personal también consideraba violatoria de los estatus del organismo.

Aun cuando el fondo era administrado por Chávez sin que sus gigantescos desembolsos fuesen supervisados por la Asamblea Nacional, las actas de constitución del FONDEN limitan el uso de sus recursos a proyectos para el desarrollo económico y social de Venezuela.

El FONDEN, alimentado por los excedentes de la renta petrolera cuando los precios del barril superan los calculados en el presupuesto nacional, administró más ... Read More

Brazil increases pressure on Venezuela to set election date

| May 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

May 7 Brazil urged Venezuela’s government on Thursday to set a date for a parliamentary election as soon as possible, stepping up pressure on its leftist ally and neighbor to resolve a simmering political crisis.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said he met with Venezuelan government officials this week and told them a date must be set quickly for the National Assembly election that is meant to be held before the end of the year.

“I insisted that elections should be called as soon as possible and held within the legal time frame,” Vieira said at a news conference.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s opponents see the parliamentary election as a chance to capitalize on widespread discontent over a deepening economic crisis and advance towards ending more than 15 years of socialist rule.

Surveys show Venezuela’s opposition leading in projections of voters’ intentions and Maduro’s popularity has ... Read More

Venezuela’s Poor Neighbors Flee en Masse Decades After Arriving

| May 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

BY ANATOLY KURMANAEV AND OSCAR MEDINA

Thirty years after leaving the poverty and violence of Colombia for oil-rich Venezuela, Oscar Mina, a 56-year-old construction worker, is heading home.

“Prices are going up every day and the money bills are worthless,”said Mina, sipping beer with compatriots in the Petare slum of eastern Caracas, militant graffiti on the walls, trash in the streets. “Is that governing for the poor?”

In a way, no group has benefited more from Venezuela’s socialist revolution of the past 15 years than the millions of Colombians who have moved here in recent decades. Free housing, education and health care turned them into rock-solid supporters of the late President Hugo Chavez.

So it is telling that tens of thousands of them are leaving — 200,000 in the past few years, according to Ivan De La Vega, a migration scholar at Caracas’s Simon Bolivar University. ... Read More

Venezuela’s Economy Suffers as Import Schemes Siphon Billions

| May 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By WILLIAM NEUMAN and PATRICIA TORRES

CARACAS, Venezuela — The weed whackers were $12,300. Each.

Then there was the $1.8 million machinery to kill and gut chickens. When the police checked it, they found a worthless jumble of rusted scrap metal.

And there were the businessmen who collected $74 million to ship chemicals and other products from abroad — but sent almost nothing in return.

For years, Venezuela has had a hole in its pocket, a very big hole.

The government’s complex currency system has led to exorbitant schemes by importers, who wildly inflate the value of goods brought into the country to grab American dollars at rock-bottom exchange rates. Sometimes, they fake the shipments altogether and import nothing at all.

Then they just pocket the dollars that the government provides, or sell some of the ... Read More

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