BY SARAH MARTIN
This past month, Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro wrote a letter to the people of the world denouncing the latest, treacherous U.S. escalation against that country. When the U.S. government should be entirely focused on the health and safety of U.S. citizens, the Trump administration has once again threatened the peace and stability of Venezuela.
On March 26, U.S. authorities charged Venezuelan authorities, including President Maduro, of drug trafficking and terrorism and outrageously placed a $5 million bounty on their heads.
Pino Arlacchi, the former executive director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Prevention, says that in his 40 years of anti-narcotic work, he never came across evidence of Venezuela’s involvement in the drug trade—instead saying that the U.S. and Colombia drive drug production and consumption. As an expert on the Italian Mafia, Arlacchi says the U.S. government is actually the party behaving like an organized crime unit in its treatment of Venezuela.
It is no coincidence that the day before, on March 25, the Venezuelan government announced that an arsenal of sophisticated weapons had been captured close to the Colombia-Venezuela border. According to the Venezuelan government’s investigation, these arms were for military and paramilitary personnel training in camps in Colombia that were part of an operation to kill President Maduro, his family and other high state officials and to attack Venezuelan civil and military sites. Mr. Cliver Alcala, a retired general of the Venezuelan army admitted to being in charge of the operation. He said the weapons were purchased through a contract with Juan Guaido, the U.S.-supported, self-proclaimed and illegitimate president of Venezuela, as well as with U.S. advisers and a representative of the Colombian president and government.
Although Alcala was named by the U.S. in the letter charging Venezuelans with terrorism and drug trafficking, he was curiously and suspiciously seen shaking hands with his captors as he left the country without handcuffs on a VIP flight to Miami.
Then, in one of his daily COVID-19 press conferences last week, surrounded by military officials, Trump announced that several warships will be deployed into Caribbean waters just north of Venezuela. In this bizarre scene, with the nation’s attention and concern on the pandemic, he left viewers bewildered as he talked about drugs and drug addiction. However, the message was clear. This move and these warships are yet another escalation of threats against the government of Venezuela and its people.
In his letter, President Maduro wrote, “Brothers and sisters of the world, you can be absolutely sure that Venezuela will stand firm in its fight for peace and that, under any circumstances, it will prevail. No imperialist aggression, however ferocious it may be, will divert us from the sovereign and independent path that we have forged for 200 years, nor will it distance us from the sacred obligation to preserve the life and health of our people in the face of the frightening global pandemic of COVID-19.”