Monday, September 16, 2019

Hugo Chávez Drug Policy & U.S. Intervention

Juan Forero and José de Córdoba at The Wall Street Journal report on documents used by U.S. federal prosecutors alleging that Hugo Chávez had a cocaine plan for the United States:
In 2005, Chávez convened a small group of his top officials to discuss plans to ship cocaine to the U.S. with help from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said a participant in the meeting who, at the time, was a justice on Venezuela’s supreme court, according to the papers. The Bush administration was strongly criticizing his governing style then and had publicly approved of a 2002 coup that failed to oust him. 
“During the meeting, Chávez urged the group, in substance and in part, to promote his policy objectives, including to combat the United States by ‘flooding’ the country with cocaine,” said an affidavit in the documents written by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. The former supreme court justice was identified as Eladio Aponte, who fled to the U.S. in 2012 and has been a witness on drug cases, said a person familiar with his role in the investigations.
That Chávez and those around him were involved in some manner in drug trafficking has long been alleged, but this is a new twist. We always need a healthy skepticism about information yielded by someone trying to save their own neck. Is there any corroboration or is all this from a single source?

For the most part, I see this as another potential building block of a rationale to intervene militarily because it can be used as a national security threat type of argument, especially when added to the invocation of the Rio Treaty. Those building blocks remain sketchy, however, given Latin American and Trumpian hesitance to use force. Mexico, for example, is vociferous about its opposition to using the Rio Treaty for Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Juan Guaidó and his team announced that the Norway talks were officially dead, after Nicolás Maduro had already done the same. But Boston Group facilitated talks continue.

In other words, as always there is a lot of talk and not much changes. John Bolton is gone, which seems to decrease the chances of intervention, though it occurred to me that I could also imagine Trump dumping Bolton and then intervening just so he wouldn't have to share the credit. The administration's pattern thus far has been tough talk and sanctions.


jeff house 9:30 AM  

While corroboration is irrelevant in an extradition proceeding, it appears to me that witness #1 (Supreme Court Justice) and witness #2 (Chavez bodyguard) corroborate one another about the meetings and who attended them, and what the subject of the meetings was. We won’t know the full extent of the corroboration until we see the complete affidavits. But it is extremely hard for two witnesses, debriefed independently, to invent identical corroborative details about time, place, subject, and attendees at a meeting which took place in 2004.

Ian Keenan 10:12 AM  

Pretty sure the pics of Guaido posing with the coke dealer he traveled to Colombia with won't be in the WSJ. Leopoldo Lopez doesn't seem to stay off the blow long enough in advance of public appearances, leading to fitful gestures.

US spends a lot of money on DEA and everyone knows it comes from Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, and US bases in Colombia have not changed that. Chavez and Maduro know if they were caught moving it into the US it would be the daily news.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP