Sunday, September 15, 2019

Wall Street Journal reports that "Venezuela's Hugo Chávez worked to flood U.S. with Cocaine"

Where do you think he got the idea to do that from?

Hugo Chavez was mentored by Fidel Castro
Juan Forero and José de Córdoba in The Wall Street Journal have written an important expose on the role played by Hugo Chávez in flooding the United States witch cocaine. The report is based on documents provided by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York. According to The Wall Street Journal report:
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.
Nicolas Maduro has continued this practice, and family members have been caught smuggling cocaine. Reuters reported on December 14, 2017 "[t]wo nephews of Venezuela’s first lady were sentenced to 18 years in prison following their convictions in New York on U.S. drug trafficking charges."

There are those who are questioning what is the motive for the Chavista regime in Venezuela to flood the United States with cocaine. The answer requires a broader and strategic look through the perspective of the Chavista regime in Venezuela and the Castro regime in Cuba. 

The Wall Street Journal argues that Bush Administration criticism of the Chavez regime and public approval of a failed 2002 coup were the reasons for the cocaine smuggling, but relations between the two countries remained normal, and U.S. diplomats had warned the Chavez regime of the threat. Furthermore this policy continued during the Obama Administration.

One needs to go further back and look at a key Chavez ally.

On March 1, 1982 the Cuban dictatorship was placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This was less than three months after the US State Department confirmed that the Castro regime was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democratic government. 

Drug traffickers: Raul Castro with Aldo Santamaria-Cuadrado
According to the UPI in 1982 the following high ranking Cuban officials were indicted by the United States for operating a drug ring out of Cuba: Aldo Santamaria-Cuadrado, head of the navy and a member of the Communist Central Committee; Fernando Ravelo-Renedo, ambassador to Colombia; Gonzalo Bassols-Suarez, a former staff member at the Cuban embassy in Colombia; and Rene Rodriguez-Cruz, a Central Committee member and president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People. 

According to  the July 18, 1989 Heritage Foundation report, Castro's Show Trials Do Not Mean an End to Cuba's Drug Trade, the links to building narcotics networks to the United States stretch back to the earliest days of the dictatorship.

"Documented evidence of Cuba's role in drug trafficking dates back to the early 1960s. According to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intelligence report released in 1982, a meeting was held in Havana in 1961 between communist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Moises Crespo of the Cuban Secret Police, and future Chilean socialist president Salvador Allende, to.discuss creating a narcotics network to smuggle illegal drugs to the U.S."
This was at a time when Soviet aid to Cuba made the U.S. Embargo irrelevant to the Castro regime, and the purpose of sanctions was to increase the cost to the Soviet Union to operate in Latin America.

Despite receiving massive and increasing Soviet subsidies between 1960 and 1987 the Castro regime engaged in massive arms smuggling and drug trafficking in the service of ideological objectives and as can be seen in Venezuela today in establishing a Cuban imperial presence in the hemisphere, and striking at the soft underbelly of the United States.
In a 1991 Frontline documentary, Cuba and Cocaine, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Jeff Karonis, stated, "We would observe in the middle of the day an air drop going on inside Cuban waters. The scenario would be for a small twin-engine airplane with maybe 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of cocaine to fly over Cuba, drop the drugs to a predesignated rendezvous point to several boats. Then it would exit back down off Cuba, and many times a Cuban military vessel would be in the immediate vicinity, right on scene with them.'' 

The results of this decades long effort can be seen in reports on drug abuse in the U.S. military and the wider American populace. Members of elite units with drug addictions committing suicide. Flooding the United States with drugs is an effective way to reduce military readiness.

When the FBI broke up the Wasp Network in 1998 it discovered, among other things, that they were "compiling the names, home addresses, and medical files of the U.S. Southern Command’s top officers and that of hundreds of officers stationed at Boca Chica Naval Station in Key West." It is a safe bet to make that there are other networks of Cuban spies monitoring U.S. military facilities and personnel, and their readiness.

The links between the Castro regime and narcotics trafficking stretch back decades and across the Americas.

Manuel Noriega and Fidel Castro embrace
During Panamanian strong man General Manuel Noriega's 1992 trial information emerged publicly implicating the Castro regime in drug trafficking that Sun Sentinel reported at the time:

"Federal prosecutors say Noriega traveled to Havana to ask [Fidel] Castro to mediate a potentially deadly dispute with top members of Colombia`s Medellin cocaine cartel. They say the cartel chiefs were upset because a major drug lab had been seized in Panama despite payment of millions of dollars in protection money to Noriega. According to the Noriega indictment, Castro negotiated a peace accord between the cartel and Noriega at the 1984 meeting. The allegation forms a cornerstone of the racketeering and drug trafficking charges against Noriega."
At the same time convicted cartel leader Carlos Lehder implicated Raul Castro and U.S. fugitive Robert Vesco "to route cocaine flights through Cuba." Capitol Hill Cubans blogged how two years later, a federal indictment listed General Raul Castro as part of a conspiracy that smuggled seven and a half tons of cocaine into the United States over a 10-year period.
This would not be the first time that drug trafficking was carried out to advance political objectives.

In the mid-19th century the British Government imposed the trade of opium upon China, generating huge numbers of addicts, weakened and compromised China’s territorial sovereignty and economic power for almost a century. This was done in order to redress the trade imbalance between the two countries that favored China.  Great Britain  in the 19th century had a population of 10 million and China had a population of 300 million. These population numbers are approximate to the population of 11 million in Cuba today and 327 million in the United States today.

The Castro regime sees itself as a revolutionary world power that has projected itself into conflicts in Asia, Africa, and the Americas over the past sixty years with successes in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Angola, Ethiopia, and Venezuela.

The Cuban dictatorship has also viewed the United States since 1959 as an existential enemy and has sought out creative means to effectively attack and destroy the fighting capacity of the United States.
This is what the Castro regime has sought to do to the United States since at least 1961, and is using its client state of Venezuela to carry on its agenda of undermining the United States. 

It is not surprising that Hugo Chavez, who was mentored and guided by Fidel Castro, would collaborate with Cubans in advancing this long term objective of flooding the United States with deadly drugs. It is also not surprising that the Castro regime would deny all of this and gas light the American public. It has done the same thing with the case of U.S. diplomats who have suffered brain injuries at the Embassy in Havana. What is surprising is that this is not understood by either the mainstream media or many policy makers in the United States who seek to downplay it.

Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post reported on Venezuela, the FARC, Cuba trafficking axis on May 24, 2015 in the article "A drug cartel’s power in Venezuela":
Ever since Colombian commandos captured the laptop of a leader of the FARC organization eight years ago, it’s been known that Chávez gave the Colombian narcoguerrillas sanctuary and allowed them to traffic cocaine from Venezuela to the United States with the help of the Venezuelan army. But not until a former Chávez bodyguard [ Leamsy Salazar] defected to the United States in January [2015] did the scale of what is called the “Cartel of the Suns ” start to become publicly known. [...] The day after Salazar’s arrival in Washington, Spain’s ABC newspaper published a detailed account of the emerging case against Cabello, and last month, ABC reporter Emili Blasco followed up with a book laying out the allegations of Salazar and other defectors, who say Cuba’s communist regime and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah have been cut in on the trafficking."
Consider the following: the Castro regime provides safe haven for the FARC in Cuba because it has appeared in Wikileaks. The close relationship between the regimes in Havana and Caracas has been long and well documented. Tens of thousands of Cuban advisers have been operating in Venezuela for years. Drugs are flooding into the United States at unprecedented levels fueling overdoses and an epidemic endangering American lives.

Shouldn't their role and the shared strategic objectives of the Castro and Chavez regimes be reported on?

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