Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has admitted the country has a drug trafficking problem, but blamed it on Colombian paramilitary organizations with “links to the fascist right,” conveniently ignoring the role of the Venezuelan military and leftist guerrilla groups.
Speaking on a visit to the border state Tachira, Maduro said, “This crime [drug trafficking], which comes from Colombia, is changing and mutating into a monster.”
“Drug traffickers and paramilitaries are starting to control our neighbor and more and more they are closely linked to the fascist right, [and] they form part of the fascist [political] parties,” he added.
The president also announced an audit of all notaries in cities bordering Colombia as part of an investigation into the purchase of properties with drug trade profits.
InSight Crime Analysis
After years of the Chavez administration downplaying rising insecurity and Venezuela’s ever more important role in the drug trade, Maduro has recently begun to acknowledge the scale of the security problems Venezuela is facing.
However, as with his predecessor, the new president is making the issue highly politicized. Maduro’s linking of narco-paramilitary groups with a fascist political movement continues his increasingly paranoid rhetoric, which has included claims that former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is plotting to assassinate him. This is likely a move on Maduro’s part to try and rally his somewhat shaky support against a common enemy, supposedly hell-bent on the destruction of the Chavista political project.
Absent from this politicized view of Venezuela’s drug trafficking problems is the presence of Colombia’s leftist guerrilla groups, which frequently operate unmolested in Venezuelan territory and are also heavily involved in the drug trade. Also absent is the role of the Venezuelan military, especially the loose-knit network of high ranking military officials known as the Cartel de los Soles (Cartel of the Suns), who are believed to play an increasingly important role in the drug trade.