The US Government on Thursday filed charges for “narco terrorism” (drug terrorism) against Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and offered US$15 million for any information leading to his capture.
“I have a message for senior chavismo officials: the party is ending,” Ariana Fajardo Orshan, Attorney General for the Southern District of Florida told a press conference.
The move is sure to further escalate the tension between Washington and Caracas.
The Trump administration ceased its recognition of Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela, following accusations of election fraud and human rights abuse, recognizing the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the country’s leader, although Guaido was not elected to the top office.
The United Nations, as well as UN Security Council member states China and Russia, continue to recognize the Maduro government.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Thursday that drug trafficking charges brought forward earlier in the day by the Trump administration against President Nicolas Maduro showed the “desperation” of the “Washington elite”.
Arreaza said that the White House decision to offer a reward for the capture of Maduro and other high-ranking officials for alleged drug trafficking and “narco-terrorism” prove the administration’s “obsession” with Venezuela, and point to Trump’s attempts to get better “electoral returns” in the state of Florida.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces that at a time when humanity is facing the fiercest of pandemics, the government of Donald Trump is again attacking the people of Venezuela and its democratic institutions using a new form of coup d’etat, on the base of miserable, vulgar and unfounded accusations”, the foreign minister in a government statement.