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The US alleged Venezuela’s President of flooding its states with cocaine and using drugs as a weapon to demoralize the health of Americans.
Attorney General William Barr announced the charges. $15m (£12.5m) is being offered as a reward for information leading to Mr. Maduro’s arrest. Tensions would ensue between the two nations due to this move by the US.
It was reported that Washington has long accused the Venezuelan president of leading a corrupt and brutal administration, an allegation he has repeatedly refuted.
Juan Guaido, who was the opposition leader, declared himself interim president last year.
The new allegations embody a rise in the longstanding US pressure campaign on Mr. Maduro, which also includes sweeping sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry.
The US state department said that “Venezuelans deserve a see-through, responsible and good government that serves the needs of its people and also does not engage in illicit narcotics trafficking.”
US Denunciation, What does it say?
Mr. Maduro and 14 members of his inner circle were charged with narco-terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption.
On Thursday, at a news conference, the indictment was announced that Mr. Barr accused Mr. Maduro of conniving with a division of the Colombian Farc rebel group “to flood the United States with cocaine” and “devastate American communities.”
He added, “While the Venezuelan people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets.”
Who are the Cabal?
Mr. Barr said the Colombian radicals had gained the support of the Maduro management, which is allowing them to use Venezuela as a safe retreat from which they can continue to conduct their cocaine trafficking.
The US Attorney, Geoffrey Berman, said, “Maduro very deliberately deployed cocaine as a weapon… to undermine the health and wellbeing of our nation,”
He indicted Mr. Maduro and his top supporter of running a “narco-terrorism partnership with the Farc for the past 20 years.”
In a detached statement, the State Department said those accused alongside Mr. Maduro had “violated the public trust by facilitating shipments of narcotics from Venezuela, including control over planes that leave from a Venezuelan airbase.”
In response to the US charges, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, hit out at what he called “unfounded allegations” and said they showed the “desperation” of the “Washington elite.”
“The deep frustration of the White House is a product of the peace that reigns today in Venezuela,” he said.
What is the background of the Venezuela crisis?
A presidential election was won narrowly by Mr. Maduro in April 2013 after the death of his mentor, President Hugo Chavez.
In May 2018, he was elected to a second term. In an election seen as flawed by international observers. Venezuela has experienced economic collapse-inflation was 800,000% last year, and 4.8m people left the country.
Mr. Guaido accused president Maduro of being unfit for office. He has won the support of the US and EU as well as many other leaders in the country.
Mr. Maduro has remained in power and is backed by the army, as well as Russia, China, and Cuba.