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VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro branded Donald Trump “a racist cowboy” today after the US declared the country a “narco-terrorist state” and placed a $15 million bounty on the Bolivarian leader’s head.
In a televised address he issued a warning to his US counterpart that he faced “the fury of an entire nation” in the wake of Mr Trump’s latest attempt to tighten the noose on Venezuela.
“You are a miserable human being, Donald Trump,” he told the nation. “You manage international relations like the New York mafia extortion artist you once were as a real estate boss.
“If one day the imperialists and Colombian oligarchy dare to touch even a single hair, they will face the Bolivarian fury of an entire nation that will wipe them all out.”
He struck a defiant tone, saying the people of Venezuela would not be defeated.
Washington indicted Mr Maduro on charges of drug trafficking, claiming that the Bolivarian leader had presided over a violent cocaine smuggling cartel called Cartel de Los Sols while amassing unprecedented power in Venezuela.
US Attorney General William Barr announced the charges at a news briefing along with the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the top federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Miami.
He claimed the Bolivarian leader had colluded with a dissident faction of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, saying it used Venezuela as a base to store weapons and drugs which were then sold to finance violence.
“They’ve obtained the support of the Maduro regime, who is allowing them to use Venezuela as a safe haven from which they can continue to conduct their cocaine trafficking and their armed insurgency,” Mr Barr said.
US attorney in Manhattan Geoffrey S Berman said the $15m award would be paid for information leading to his capture or conviction.
Claims in the indictment that Venezuela planned to “‘flood’ the United States with cocaine and “inflict the drug’s harmful and addictive effects on users in this country” were met with derision given Washington’s own chequered history.
The Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s is well-documented with the US breaching an arms embargo with Tehran and using the profits to arm a CIA-operated anti-communist militia to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
Investigative journalist Gary Webb uncovered a further scandal in 1996, revealing that the streets of Los Angeles were flooded with crack cocaine smuggled into the country from Nicaragua by Contra supporters Oscar Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, allegedly in collusion with the CIA.
Profits were used to arm the Contras after official Congress funding had ceased.
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