By Luis Manuel Aguana
Versión en español
It’s been almost a year since I wrote a note that started: 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 (see For a global problem a global solution, at http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_77.html).
But I was wrong. Naim did not need to do so because he had already done so, anticipating that note five years earlier in 2012 in an article published in Foreign Affairs entitled Mafia States (see Mafia States, at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2012-04-20/mafia-states).
In that article Naim already indicated that the phenomenon of the so-called Mafia State had taken root in Venezuela when in 2010 Hugo Chávez had appointed Gen. Carlos Rangel Silva, as the highest commander of the Venezuelan Armed Forces and Minister of Defense, as a character who had been identified two years earlier by the U.S. Treasury Department as the most important drug czar in Venezuela, and accused him of “materially assisting narcotics trafficking activities” in the country.
Similarly, Walid Makled, a well-known drug trafficker imprisoned in Venezuela, in 2010 accused him of having documented evidence that he worked for a criminal network involving 15 generals, including the head of military intelligence and the director of the country’s anti-drug office, as well as the brother of the Minister of the Interior and 5 members of parliament.
Read it well, Makled WORKED for them, not the other way around. That is a fundamental difference. In any other country criminals buy corrupt officials to carry out their misdeeds. In Venezuela it is the other way around, THE AUTHORITIES are the ones who conduct the crime and make use of common criminals as errand boys and pawns. What a difference, and that is why Naim calls them Mafia States.
Hence the great importance of the trial for own corruption and money laundering that Maduro is brought abroad as President of the Republic. The common Venezuelan does not yet realize that it is impossible to make that trial in Venezuela with a court that cannot be reached by them and that is why all those involved in this corruption scheme are at all costs trying to prevent that trial in the legitimate TSJ in exile.
And it is not just any trial for corruption of a public official, it is the first trial against a Mafia State in the world! where the one sitting on the bench is the head of that State. Let’s see.
On July 30, in an article published by the Nuevo Herald signed by journalist Antonio Maria Delgado, “according to the charges filed against Maduro in the trial being held from abroad, the president received millions of dollars in bribes to favor the Brazilian firm Odebrecht with huge contracts valued at several billion dollars for works that were not built. In only one case presented, Maduro would have asked the construction company to pay him $50 million, but Odebrecht only paid him $35 million” (see in Spanish Presidente del Supremo de Venezuela en el exilio renunció a nacionalidad española antes de aceptar cargo, en https://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/mundo/america-latina/venezuela-es/article215763880.html). That statement will be easily verifiable with those of the construction company who are being sued in Brazil.
So this, whose roots began in 2010 with the appointment of General Carlos Rangel Silva in the Ministry of Defense, as Naim pointed out, came to the Presidency of the Republic, and the Mafia State in Venezuela became a reality.
The implications of this are far-reaching. It would be impossible for us to trust in any branch of the Executive Power, nor would we trust that any power that resides in Venezuela is not involved, as we suspect, in the Legislative Power’s leadership, given its insistence on disqualifying Miguel Angel Martín as President of the legitimate Supreme Court of Justice that operates in exile, and dissolving that entity in order to stop this trial, as journalist José Domingo Blanco (@Mingo_1) denounced this past weekend through his Twitter account (see https://twitter.com/mingo_1/status/1023569054030868480?s=03).
At present, this fight looks tremendously unequal because we are fighting against very powerful forces of national and international organized crime, for whom it is inconvenient that Maduro should leave the presidency with the mafia that accompanies him, and for that they will use all the means and accomplices inside and outside the country to achieve it. That is why all Venezuelans and the international community must close ranks in favor of the legitimate Supreme Court of Justice, since if this Mafia State persists we will soon have others in the region.
Maduro’s trial is a key trial in the fight against criminals in positions of power and this cannot be ignored by the community of nations, which is an extremely powerful reason why the momentous decision about how the next government of Venezuela would be constituted cannot be made in this country.
In Venezuela, the influence of the Executive Power over the other powers is decisive, to the point that the National Assembly, even in the hands of the opposition, bent in favor of not discussing the power vacuum created by the Maduro trial. We must understand that Members are not in a position to decide on the head of an acting dictator-criminal, and that this decision must be transferred outside the country so that it can be decided from there what to do with the mafia that usurps power, with the help of the international community.
At this point that trial transcended to Venezuela because the legitimate TSJ is not prosecuting Nicolás Maduro Moros, it is prosecuting a Mafia State in the person of its President. That would be more than enough reason for this legitimate High Court not only to be protected by all countries until the restoration of freedom and democracy in Venezuela, but also to be recognized in the unprecedented action of having taken a first step without support in the fight against the new forms of crime that threaten the political stability of the continent and the world.
Caracas, August 1, 2018