The US Department of Justice accused Nicolás Maduro and Diosdado Cabello on Thursday, March 26th of turning Venezuela into a “narco-state” sponsor of terrorism, the latest escalation of the Trump administration’s pressure campaign aimed at ousting the Chavista leader.
Attorney General William Barr, announcing the charges, accused Maduro and his associates of conspiring with a dissident faction of the leftist Colombian guerrilla group FARC “to flood the United States with cocaine.”
The US justice also filed charges against Maikel Moreno, president of the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice, accused of accepting bribes linked to state oil company PDVSA. In addition, both Maduro and Cabello and the Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino López, were accused of conspiring with FARC dissent to finance “the war of the guerrilla movement against the Colombian government,” according to El Nuevo Herald.
The State Department also offered a reward of up to $15 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Maduro, whose country has been convulsed by years of a deep economic crisis and political upheaval.
Maduro is already under U.S. sanctions and has been the target of a U.S. effort aimed at pushing him from power. He took office in 2013 after the death of his mentor President Hugo Chavez, a staunch U.S. foe.