By Gabriela Gonzalez.
The Chargé d’ Affaires for the Venezuela Affairs Unit of the Department of State, James Story, reported that he is working with law enforcement in Miami to search for assets acquired by Venezuelans with money from corruption.
During transmission of his web program Alo Encargado, this Thursday, October 29, he assured that up to now, the seized of 800 million dollars in assets.
The diplomat had as a special guest, Patrick Ventrell, director of the Office of Anti-Narcotics Affairs at the US State Department, who pointed out that the government of Nicolas Maduro “handles drug trafficking as a state policy,” which makes it almost a unique situation.
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Ventrell highlighted that for its geography, Venezuela is an interesting point for drug trafficking. He also explains that, although they cannot work with local authorities as they do with other countries to fight against drug trafficking, they do receive the collaboration of the interim government of Juan Guaido.
Ventrell expressed concern about the drug trafficking situation in the region. The State Department official explained that according to his investigations, there are increases of 150% in drug consumption in Latin America.
He also assured that drug seizures have increased, although he did not present figures on this matter. The director showed images of the flow of drug flights from Venezuela to Central America and that once they reach their delivery points, the aircrafts got burned.
For Ventrell, those drug trafficking groups operate in this manner from Venezuelan territory shows that they receive aid and act under the complicity of the Maduro government. He added that the same applies to the presence of irregular groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).
Ventrell said that the Department of Justice offers rewards for credible and verifiable information that they can use in court. “We are pushing as hard as we can,” he added about the Venezuelan case.
Support to Lopez and Guaido
Ambassador Story also commented on the exit of Leopoldo López from the country, saying that the leader is working for the freedom of Venezuela. He also says that his escape reflects the weakness of the regime.
Likewise, he rejected the attacks against the Ambassador of Spain in Venezuela, Jesus Silva, and the detention of the journalist Roland Carreño, who works with the party of Leopoldo López and Juan Guaidó, Voluntad Popular. He indicated that the Maduro government “continues to act in a repressive manner.”
Regarding the citenship consultation promoted by the opposition, Story said that this mechanism is a beginning for Venezuelans to raise their voice again and highlighted the work done by volunteers within the country. He added that the United States supports the realization of this consultation.
Story reiterated that his country continues to support Juan Guaido after December 6 and recalled that the United States presented the framework for the transition for Maduro’s departure.
About the US presidential elections, Story assures that the policy towards Venezuela will not change, regardless of a Democrat or a Republican occupied the White House.