Venezuela has become a major hub for drug trading which has seen its narcotics revenue surge by 50 percent in the past year. It is all aided by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, according to a US military commander.
The breakdown of government and society has created a vacuum of lawlessness. Smugglers are operating with impunity “in cahoots” with the regime, creating a significant threat to regional security, Admiral Craig Faller of the US Navy, head of the US Southern Command, said.
“We all sense that the threat is significant,” he said after the Caribbean Nations Security Conference (Cansec) in Miami, which brought together military and public security leaders from 14 nations and territories. The conference was co-hosted by the UK, the US, Canada, France and the Netherlands.
“Because of the illegitimate government what we have is a breakdown in civil society and security and narco-traffickers are taking advantage of that, so we have seen an increase in trafficking through the rivers, jungles and in the air,” Admiral Faller said.
“Maduro and his cronies have used the money from that to stay in power. There’s been a 50 percent or more increase in what we’re seeing in the narco-flow. Coca in particular coming in and going out, aided and abetted by the regime.”
Maduro may see the US as arch enemies but he is not averse to trading in American dollars now as Venezuela’s bolivar currency is virtually worthless.