Luis Manuel Aguana
Perhaps Moisés Naim was not imagined when he published his book “Illicit” in 2005, when he considered the unequal struggle of governments against the global criminal networks, that these could be … ¡the same government! Drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, and many illicit things raised in that book but now ruling a country. That completely changes the perspective of how the world can fight that. I think Naim should consider publishing an updated version of that fascinating book under the light of the current Venezuelan reality.
More than a year ago, in an interview conducted by Naim to the so-called “Iron Prosecutor”, Bonnie Klapper, the former official gave an anecdotic interview with a Colombian drug trafficker: “BK: … I asked him how he carried drugs from the port of Caracas, or from Caracas to the place where they would be transported to other countries, and to whom they had to pay him. The dealer looked at me and said: Doctor, I do not understand the question. I told him, you had to pay the police not to seize the merchandise, and he said: no doctor, you do not understand. We paid the police and they carried the drug. When we had large shipments we would advise the port narcotics police so they could get the goods out of the port in the police cars. NM: What you are telling us is that in Venezuela the Armed Forces, the National Guard, the police and the political police system, etc., are not controlled by the drug traffickers, they are the narcotraffickers! BK: They are the drug traffickers. I have heard that Venezuela is a narco State. There are many wonderful people in Venezuela, the vast majority, but if you look at the police system, the Army, without them the business would not exist. They take bribes and transport the drug … “ (see Moisés Naim interview with Bonnie Klapper, https://youtu.be/Kd0PYJepM2c – Case of Venezuela min 18:05). And according to what is coming out to the public, they have done something more than that.
In other words, international drug cartels do not move in Venezuela as in any other country. They stay outside. They negotiate with the government, not as criminals who buy officials as elsewhere, but as equals. The implications of that are endless for any criminal network that can put their hands to a position of power. It is not that there are officials bought for the crime, they are the owners of the business and they also manage the power. From the laundering of capital through our main industry to the issuance of public bonds. This is a new phenomenon on a global scale and the trigger of a series of mechanisms that will affect our country in the short term.
But those networks need to have a mask to govern. That parapet is provided by the cover of ideological “socialism”, and now through the constitutional change provided by a constituent fraud, which for them means perpetuation in power. The Constitution of 1999 no longer serves to support them, although it served them enough. Now they need another type of system that will screw them into the power to strengthen the positions already acquired, and that can only be done with a Constituent Assembly. All this under the noses of all the governments of the planet and the country’s own opposition, which, out of stupidity or interest, never wanted to see this phenomenon as what it really is. Unfortunately the cancer has advanced enough to have neutralized all vestiges of being able to get out of the problem with its own antibodies, despite the many warnings.
The current situation in Venezuela has already escaped our borders and its solutions, as well as the serious problem it represents, are now being elucidated outside our country, putting the entire continent on alert.
The United States government mounted a Latin American tour, led by Vice President Mike Pence, to exchange views with the different governments visited about the Venezuelan crisis. As far as I remember this is a completely unusual event in Latin America after Cuba threatened world peace by trying to install nuclear rockets a few kilometers from the North American territory. Maduro is already able to wake up the sleeping giant, as expressed by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is already a fact that the Americans consider the regime of Nicolás Maduro as a threat to their national security and Latin American security.
In a very recent interview conducted by “El Citizen” Leopoldo Castillo in Miami, journalist Casto Ocando, specialized in American intelligence issues, very informed about the US-Venezuela situation indicated: “… Venezuela has the record at the moment of the worst cases of money laundering in the world, in history. There is a center that analyzes all cases of money laundering in the world that is in Switzerland, and by far Venezuela is the one that has the most cases of money laundering. And this is a real threat because we are talking about networks where drug money can enter for terrorism, that is to say that this has repercussions of global reach … For the first time, drug cartels control the government, control the Army, control the institutions . And you may imagine what it means Pablo Escobar would have done if he had control of PDVSA or the Central Bank of Venezuela, and for much less the United States pursued Pablo Escobar relentlessly. In Venezuela we have a drug trafficking operation that is possibly 10 times worse than that of Pablo Escobar. In the (US government) agencies one of the decisions that is being taken is whether to designate Venezuela or Venezuelan organizations, PDVSA or possibly the Central Bank as criminal organizations …” (US and Venezuelan Relations – The Citizen 20-08-2017 Mon 02, 3:40 min, at https://youtu.be/C-Hcaw9SrCQ ).
¿Do you realize the seriousness? ¿Do you see what we are talking about here? Here we are not talking about whether Venezuelans are in a hyperinflationary dictatorship, we are in hungry or if the National Guard is killing our boys who protest in the streets, or if children and the elderly die in Venezuelan hospitals for lack of medicines. No sir. It is that according to the perspective of the first military power of the planet, our country has made it a serious risk to hemispheric security.
The mere fact of placing PDVSA or the Central Bank of Venezuela in the OFAC list means that the country will not have a penny for the sale of crude oil. It is not even necessary that our clients in the United States stop for any cause of buying oil, is that we could not mobilize even a dollar from our accounts in any bank in the world. According to recent reports, Cuba is negotiating with Mexico an oil agreement, with lines of credit included, to get off the Venezuelan ship. You just have to figure out where the pressure is coming from (see the same El Citizen interview).
This agrees perfectly with a phrase coined by Dr. Diego Arria in a recent interview in Miami in the “Oswaldo Comenta” show: “Venezuela is a narco militarized tyranny that just mounted the fundamental drug cartel which is the Constituent” (Oswaldo Comenta: Interview with Diego Arria, 20-08-2017, Part 2 – https://youtu.be/AEW0NGfaNO0, min 7:44) (I recommend seeing the complete program in (Part 1 – https://youtu.be/kPtjp3c0OAY, Part 3 – https://youtu.be/bAgebaiTqzo, Part 4 – https://youtu.be/UYircpy77V0, and Part 5 – https://youtu.be/DLefmLi2KU0).
This serious affirmation confirms the conclusions reached by the international community when a Constituent Assembly is established in an unconstitutional and fraudulent manner, without the convocation of the people, which consolidates that fundamental drug cartel that Diego Arria points out, and now observed throughout the continent. Now the information that comes from everywhere indicates that a direct intervention or much more serious sanctions are being seriously considered than we have seen so far in our country. This is confirmed by the journalist Casto Ocando himself, affirming what the international community is already perceiving: “In Venezuela there is a criminal organization in charge, rather than a legitimately elected government …” (see Interview with @cocando -El Citizen 20 -08-2017 Seg 03, at https://youtu.be/4vLhqMdQxLQ). This makes the Venezuelan situation unsustainable.
As the Venezuelan problem has become a global problem due to the same circumstance of its international criminal origin, the solutions will also be global. The serious problems of the venezuelans are thus converted into a mere consequence of a global problem. The venezuelan short-sighted opposition can celebrate all the elections they wants with the regime; and that fact that is now transparent – and even irrelevant – will extend and aggravate the situation, not only from the perspective of the internal solution of our serious problems, but even worse, from the perspective of the security of the continent. And those problems, my dear friends, have already escaped from our hands – you will know who to blame -, remaining at most for us only to understand them without pretending to be an obstacle. These problems are now in the hands of forces far beyond us. What I am sure is that anything that happens in Venezuela will alter the perception of the free world about the fragility of freedom and what will have to be done from now on to preserve it in an increasingly insecure world …
Caracas, August 22, 2017