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The ongoing man-made disaster in Venezuela was already bad enough, with millions of people fleeing deprivation and repression. Now a former senior U.S. State Department official says the country has morphed into a full-blown “mafia state” that threatens U.S. borders and regional stability. With Washington D.C. being closer to Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, than it is to Los Angeles, it is time U.S. policymakers begin to craft a broader strategy to neutralize that threat.
Ambassador William Brownfield, who headed the bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (“Drugs and Thugs”) under both the Obama and Trump administrations, recently told a Washington audience that Venezuela today is “worse than a narco-state; it is a mafia state that goes beyond just drug trafficking.”
Crimes - Money - Laundering - Sort - Smuggling
“It is hub for financial crimes, money laundering, any sort of smuggling and trafficking in which a criminal organization can make money,” he said. “All institutions and programs [of the government] have been completely co-opted by criminal players.” And all this is aided and abetted by China, Russia, and Cuba.
To emphasize, this is not a case of corrupt government officials being paid off to enable or ignore transnational organized crime within and through its territory. This is a situation where the entire government has converted itself into a transnational criminal enterprise.
Venezuela - Ties - Crime - Nothing - Tenure
Venezuela’s ties to international crime are nothing new. They became evident during the tenure of the late socialist firebrand Hugo Chávez and have only grown under his successor, Nicolás Maduro. As early as 2008, intelligence seized by Colombia after it bombed a jungle camp of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) revealed close ties to the Venezuelan government. A U.S. response took shape during the Obama administration and has increased in volume under President Trump. The United States has sanctioned progressively more individuals in the Venezuelan government -- more than 70...
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