An indictment, unveiled at a “virtual” news conference in Washington, D.C., by Attorney General William Barr, accuses Maduro and other top government officials of conspiring with the U.S.-designated terrorist group known as the FARC so that Venezuela could be used for narcotics shipments to finance a long-running civil war against the Colombian government.
Charged along with Maduro are Diosdado Cabello, a former speaker of the National Assembly who is considered the second most powerful political figure in Venezuela, and Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the country’s minister of defense.
According to Barr all three Venezuelan officials face allegations of narco-terrorism, drug trafficking and weapons violations in a scheme initiated in the mid-2000s that was meant to help the Colombian rebel group while enriching themselves with cocaine-tainted bribes.
Maduro’s indictment marks the second time that the U.S. government has brought criminal charges against a foreign head of state.
The last time was in 1989, when Panamanian president Manuel Noriega wason drug-trafficking charges.
U.S. military forces invaded Panama and seized him late 1989 following which Noriega was tried and convicted in a US court. He was imprisoned in the Miami area and died in 2017.
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