Correspondent in Caracas
Suffocated by the crisis, the recession and the economic sanctions, the regime of Nicolás Maduro and the military mafia of the so-called Cartel de los Soles they have thrown themselves into the arms of the Government of Vladimir Putin. But that hug with the Russian bear, the invader of Ukraine, is costing him, although for the moment he has taken the chestnuts out of the fire. The Venezuelan oil funds of the state-owned PDVSA have been frozen, not in cold Siberia but in Moscow, because they have suffered the same fate as the international financial blockade with which the European Union and the United States have sanctioned Putin for his war in Ukraine. .
And so that Caracas can recover those funds, if Moscow does not declare them lost beforehand, first the sanctions of both countries would have to be lifted, and apparently the Russian president has no intention of ending the war but prolonging it for a long time.
And the rest to wait.
With the water up to the neck
But Maduro cannot wait and the financial and oil drought is reaching his neck. The Chavista government is bankrupt and desperately seeks legal and illegal fiscal resources. The first by way of privatization of public companies, raising taxes on operations with foreign currency and control of remittances from emigrants; and the second, with the smuggling of gold, coltan, minerals and the increase in revenue from drug trafficking.
To control the movement of drug traffickers and prop up the narcotics industry, Maduro has bought eleven Russian radars, type Pechora P-18, to complement the missile platform of the Defense Brigade of Los Andes, to explore Colombian airspace. They are so powerful that they can even pick up signals from aircraft, drones, phone conversations and even WhatsApp messaging. Noticias Caracol had access to the first images of the devices.
It has also acquired Chinese radars, DW-001, located in Santa Bárbara de Barinas, Where was Chavez born?which do not emit electromagnetic radiation, but instead spy on movements in Colombian airspace.
According to the Colombian Radio Caracol and the Argentine portal Infobae, “the radars have been acquired through agreements with China. Radars of all kinds: surveillance, intelligence… And the 11 Russian radars are the ones that accompany the anti-missile batteries, but they can also do interception, search, intelligence and surveillance».
The Russian teams are operating in the military brigades of the states of Falcón, Zulia, Táchira, Apure, Barinas, Sucre and Caracas, controlling drug trafficking. When one of the narco-guerrilla groups becomes rebellious -such as the FARC and ELN dissidents- and does not pay the commission required by the Chavista regime, then it withdraws their support and destroys their laboratories, clandestine airstrips and confiscates the drug caches.
According to InSight Crime, an NGO dedicated to the investigation of criminal activities in Latin America, since Maduro became president of Venezuela in 2013, after the death of Hugo Chávez, “cocaine trafficking in the country has undergone revolutionary changes. Venezuela runs the risk of becoming the fourth global producer of cocaine».
“And the Maduro regime has positioned itself as the custodian of drug trafficking in the country, exerting control over access to the vast proceeds of cocaine, not only for drug traffickers, but also for corrupt politicians and the trafficking network infiltrated in the Armyknown as the Cartel of the Suns,” he adds in his latest report on May 2.
Destruction of laboratories
The US Administration calculates that some 250 tons of cocaine are trafficked in Venezuela annually, representing between 10 to 15% of global production dear. The routes continue to be Central America, the Caribbean, Europe and the United States.
Six months ago, the Venezuelan Ministry of the Interior issued an unusual press release announcing that the Army had destroyed eight cocaine laboratories and seized almost half a ton of this product and about 10 tons of coca paste. They also eradicated 32 hectares of coca crops and destroyed more than 300,000 plants.
The World Drug Report 2020 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) places Venezuela in fourth place worldwide in drug seizures, as well as in the dismantling of laboratories to process cocaine hydrochloride.
Brigadier General Alberto Matheus Meléndez himself, head of the National Anti-Drug Office (ONA), recognizes as an achievement that in 15 years they have destroyed 368 laboratories536 clandestine tracks and seized 40,115 tons of drugs.
The paradox is that being an oil power come to minus Venezuela It also competes in fourth place in the world as a producer and processor of cocaine under the protective wing of Maduro.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism