Not everyday the WSJ graces its front page with news about TQNLQNSPM* stock, though surprisingly it did yesterday. Jose De Córdoba and Juan Forero brought it home with an extensive account on how several U.S. Federal Agencies, including the DEA, are basically closing in on Diosdado Cabello (pictured sporting a chic red beret), for turning the country into a narco-state. As one of Venezuela's foremost authorities on corruption, I am glad that a major U.S. news outlet finally exposed what's been vox populi for quite some time now.
Those who haven't been paying attention will find the piece interesting, specially claims from authoritative sources about Cabello's role in the Sun's Cartel (Cartel de los Soles: so named for it is run by Venezuela's top brass, i.e. those who have suns insignia in their epaulettes):
A leading target, according to a Justice Department official and other American authorities, is National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, considered the country’s second most-powerful man. “There is extensive evidence to justify that he is one of the heads, if not the head, of the cartel,” said the Justice Department official, speaking of a group of military officers and top officials suspected of being involved in the drug trade. “He certainly is a main target.”De Córdoba and Forero cite a "Justice Department Official" who said that Venezuela is run by a "criminal organization". That much we also knew. Some key figures were left out however. No mention to Ramon Rodríguez Chacín, or Antonio José Morales Rodríguez (aka "el catre"), who, according to exiled Supreme Court Justice Eladio Aponte Aponte, called him to order the release of Pedro Maggino (from 21:18 in video). The archive comes handy:
"... a trusted reader informs us that Majed Khalil is the bagman of General Francisco Rangel Gomez, former president of aluminium and mining giant Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana (CVG), current Governor of Bolivar state. Hence his deals with CVG. Majed Khalil is also a partner -and best man- of Lieutenant Antonio José Morales Rodríguez (aka "el catre"), godson and aide-de-camp of Hugo Chavez and one of his most trusted men. Morales is currently director of the office of the Secretary of Venezuela's Presidency. Morales has recently been fingered by former Supreme Court Judge Eladio Aponte Aponte as one of the men who ordered him to free an army drug trafficker (Pedro Maggino) caught with 2 tonnes of cocaine in Venezuela.So it is not only Leamsy Salazar, Cabello's former bodyguard featured throughout, who's witnessed involvement in drug trafficking at the very highest levels, Chavez's very own is also ear-deep in it, despite Oliver Stone's willingness to take a drug trafficker at face value.
Sources have told me that numerous federal investigations are taking place in New York, Florida, and Texas, where chavista "businessmen" tend to concentrate. Bolivarian "financiers" took to money laundering with such gusto that once public money started drying they thought "maybe we could lend our services to Diosdado's other businesses..."
It does take a while for Uncle Sam to get going, once it does though there aren't many places to hide. In the meanwhile, Cabello must be feeling a bit like Manuel "cara e' piña" Noriega. The U.S. is not about to send the Marines to Venezuela. Nowadays they count on Cuba's G2, Dilma, Juan Manuel Santos and Tom Shannon, to name a few, to do its bidding. Trouble for Cabello, a true TQNLQNSPM if there ever was one, is that outside his sphere of influence (dysfuntional and drug trafficking Venezuelan army) he's got no friends. He hates the Cubans. He has never been bothered with cultivating international allies. He has no charisma. No popular support. He's probably the most hated politico in Venezuela, and it is unlikely that FARC narcoterrorists are going to risk it for him.
Time will tell, of course. But before we see the end of this some spectacular fireworks are likely to take place.
*Tipo Que No Lo Quiere Ni Su Puta Madre.