How the US are Trying to Capture Venezuelan Drug Terrorists That Work for the United States of America
There is a rule in crime detection: While investigating any crime the most important thing is not to close in on oneself. I.e. if you are an operational officer of police or special services and you investigate an incident you cannot let it so happen that the findings show that the perpetrators are actually backed by your own spy network (and yourself, as an operative) that you are in charge of.
This rule may be applied to the current policy of the President of United States Donald Trump in regard to Venezuela and its senior leaders – the country’s president Nicolas Maduro, Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly Diosdado Cabello, former head of intelligence Hugo Carbajal, and others.
By deploying against the leaders of Venezuela its ‘international counter-drug operation’ and by offering a USD 15 million reward for the heads of Maduro and Cabello, Trump risks to finally close in on his own associates – Pompeo, Claver-Carone, Biden, and even O’Brien, who are possibly to a varying degree indirectly accessorial to drug transit from Colombia to the US southern states – via Venezuela, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico (with the support of partners of the American senior officials from ‘Sinaloa’), as well as to find out that the military campaign aiming to topple the Maduro regime, that he’s being relentlessly nudged to, is merely a gang warfare with the purpose of ousting competitors from the market of cocaine financed by Mexican drug cartels.
It’s been less than one year since at the end of August 2019 the CIA flunked its most radical operation in Venezuela – agent penetration into the inner circle of Nicolas Maduro with the purpose of ousting him and taking control of the country.
As a result of that operation’s epic disaster Trump’s closest advisor – John Bolton – lost his job. He was personally responsible for that CIA campaign. Yet another direct participant of that operation was almost caught red-handed (with the help of the Russians) by Venezuelan counterintelligence (while meeting with his agent from Maduro’s inner circle), – Mauricio Claver-Carone, citizen of the United States of Cuban origin, Director for Western hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council of the United States, managed to keep his post and his position in the intelligence community of the United States.
In all likelihood, at a critical moment of time Claver-Carone turned out to have serious patrons with sufficient influence and money to protect their man. Lobbyists and lobby groups in the United States may have that influence (it is known that the US senator Marco Rubio favors Claver-Carone), otherwise it’s drug cartels. Mauricio Claver-Carone definitely has connections with the latter.
Thus, it is a fact that connection was made with a high-ranking official from the inner circle of Maduro (quoting Trump’s speech dated August 21, 2019, “with a big Socialist boss”) by the US intelligence in June 2019.
Apparently the strive to set this contact was mutual: Since February 2019 CIA has been looking for a suitable candidate from the inner circle of Maduro, someone who’d be able to replace the country’s leader at the right moment; “the big Socialist boss,” in turn, was also looking to establish contact with top-ranking American officials as he’d been worried by the progress of clandestine talks between Maduro and Guaido in Oslo, where he was not allowed to go for a number of reasons.
It seems most probable that it was this official who was the first to send a signal of his readiness to get in touch to the United States officials, not vice versa; and that signal had been received in the White House via the channels of communications with US senior officials, the same channels used by Colombian and Mexican drug cartels.
That official had access to such channels – the Americans believe he is in charge of Cartel de los Soles, a Colombian-Venezuelan drug cartel which controls the transit of cocaine via Venezuela.
This is exactly why in the process of launching its naval operation against ‘drug terrorism’ at the end of 2020 at the shores of Venezuela, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered $10 million for the head of that official (and $15 million was promised for the head of Maduro).
It has been said that on March 28, 2020 former head of Venezuela’s intelligence Hugo Carvajal began talks with high-ranking government officials from the United States about his ‘full confession’: Carvajal had been preparing to surrender with the US authorities by making a ‘deal’ with them.
Former head of а military spy agency under Hugo Chavez – one of those the Department of State of the United States had offered a reward of $10 million. It is not reliably known whether Carvajal himself would get the money if he surrenders to the American justice.
Yet the idea that he may be the key witness at a ‘drug proceedings’ against Maduro and Cabello is an objective fact. This is what Trump is counting on (obviously, if Maduro and Cabello are taken alive, not like in Gaddafi’s case).
However, certain things may go unplanned under this scenario: While testifying about the connections with Maduro and Cabello with Cartel de los Soles, Carvajal may likely lead the investigators to the cartel’s ties with the ‘traffic’s patrons from among senators and congressmen in the United States, as well as among top-ranking US intelligence officers.
This is when the investigation may likely lead to Biden (which is arguably not so bad for Trump) and to Mauricio Claver-Carone (which is very bad for Trump), and his patron Rubio (which is especially lousy for the Republican Party prior to the US presidential elections) and, possibly, even to Pompeo, Trump’s consigliere, who became CIA chief under Trump and then the US Secretary of State.
Having initiated a far-reaching operation against Venezuelan ‘drug terrorists’ Trump may finally close in on specific officials from his inner circle, who are indispensable in the sales of cocaine in the United States, and he’s end up with a scandal. After which Trump’s opponents from the US Democratic Party would more than likely take care of his defeat.
 Ex-Venezuelan spy chief Carvajal discussing surrender with U.S. authorities: sources. // Reuters. 2020. 28 mar. URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-venezuela-spain/ex-venezuelan-spy-chief-carvajal-discussing-surrender-with-us-authorities-sources-idUSKBN21F0TC
Venezuela: Barr’s List or Plan B
On March 26, 2020 the US authorities officially charged the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly Diosdado Cabello, former military intelligence chief (2004-2008) General Hugo Carbajal, as well as twelve high-ranking Venezuelan government officials and military commanders with involvement in terrorism, narco-trafficking activities (international drug trafficking) and corruption.
The US Attorney General William Barr personally announced it on 26.03.2020. In his statement, he also noted “we expect that finally these charged offenders would end up in custody; we plan to study all options for [their] confinement”.
American mass media described the actions by the US administration relating with Venezuela as ‘having practically no precedents in the history of interstate relations.’ Indeed, this move by the US government – pronouncement of charges against the head of a foreign state for commission of crimes – is the second one in the entire history of the United States: In 1989, the US charged Panama’s leader – General Manuel Noriega – in drug trafficking and issued his arrest warrant.
On December 20, 1989 as a result of the US military operation General Manuel Noriega was abducted, extradited to the United States, and sentenced (in 1992) to 40 years of imprisonment. Maduro now possibly share the same destiny.
According to the press release published on the website of the US Department of Justice (Drug Enforcement Agency) “Nicolas Maduro and 14 other current and retired officials of Venezuela are charged with drug terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking, and commission of other criminal offences.”
In accordance with Barr’s statement the accused parties acting in collusion with the extreme left group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC) set up transit of Colombian cocaine into the United States (up to 240 tons per year) utilizing it as a tool for disruption of foundations of the constitutional system of the United States: “their common goal is to flood the US with cocaine so as to undermine health and wellbeing of the American nation.”
The evidence of their guilt were the materials of cultivation of all the persons mentioned (including Maduro and Cabello) by the US special services, first and foremost, by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that has been working closely with some of the aforementioned persons in the territories of Venezuela and Colombia in 2019.
За «головы» The rewards of US$15 million (for Maduro) and US$10 million were offered for each of the accused persons included in that list by the Department of Justice of the United States on the ‘heads’ of Nicolas Maduro, Diosdado Cabello, Hugo Carbajal who had topped the list of those charged with ‘activities against the United States,’ as well as any information about them (their locations, traffic routes) which would facilitate their arrest.
Information about the price ‘offered by the government of the United States on the head of Maduro and his partners in crime’ was published on March 26 in the official statement by Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State: “The US Department of State offers a reward of up to $15 million for information with regard to Nicolas Maduro” and information facilitating his arrest for being a criminal offender.
All of this resembles the 2003 Iraqi scenario, a deck of cards with the image of Saddam Hussein and his officials and the price offered by the United States on their heads.
The funds (offered on the heads of Maduro and people from his inner circle), according to the US Department of Justice, would help the US special services capture the ‘guilty parties.’ As William Barr strongly hinted, “some of the accused persons travel abroad which may present an opportunity for their detention.”
This is a clear signal to the people (government officials and defense officials) from Maduro’s near circle who are prepared to save their skins by turning over their boss to the US intelligence service (the same way as the Iraqi political elites turned over Saddam Hussein to the United States by imitating an ‘accidental discovery’ of his hideout by a squad of Iraqi collaborationists).
There may be many such people in Maduro’s near circles, and to them Barr’s promise probably not a meaningless phrase. This is getting serious.
Besides, the United States is counting on ‘refundable help’ in this case from not just top-ranking government officials and defense officials, but also from representatives of ‘simple people’: “There are many options for their prosecution…” as William Barr emphasized. “However, I hope the people of Venezuela would soon find themselves in a situation where they can turn these people over to us.”
By all accounts it is now clear that Maduro is in a quagmire. Which, this time around, has every chance of ending mournfully (possibly with his arrest or even death). A manhunt has been declared for Maduro, Cabello and their compatriots, with a reward on their heads and delivery to the United States ‘live or dead.’
For the US is it important to try Maduro, Cabello, and others, publicly showcase their guilt and punish them for going against the will of the United States of America – which would set an example and lesson for other ‘freedom fighters.’
William Barr would be happy to see Hugo Chavez as well on this ‘prisoner’s box’, but alas: Chavez had died somewhat ‘at a wrong time’ and he therefore is unable to personally stand before the American people.
According to the takeaways of the US secret services Maduro, Cabello, Carbajal, and Cordones effective ‘at least since 1999’ acted as “leaders and managers” of Cartel de los Soles – a major Colombian-Venezuelan drug cartel which is specialized in the transit of Colombian cocaine via the territory of Venezuela into the US and the EU countries.
The volume of drug trafficking averages 200-250 tons per year, which is a colossal number. Not all this cocaine ends up in the United States, yet at least 100-150 tons land in the US southern states. Cocaine is transported across the Colombia-Venezuela border by light airplanes – lightweight, single-engine planes.
On the part of Colombia this transit is controlled by FARC; on the part of Venezuela, in the opinion of William Barr and Mike Pompeo, – by Diosdado Cabello, the actual chief of Cartel de los Soles. Most of the money generated from the cocaine transit is allocated to funding the army and special services. As a result, Cabello is a person who truly controls the army and the Bolivarian intelligence.
Although Cabello in his activities of running the cartel is very careful – he never signs any documents, and he negotiates via third parties only (albeit quite trusted third parties), he never meets with any Colombian business partners (those from FARC) in person, preferring to stay ‘white-gloved,’ the fact of his control over this drug cartel is well known on both sides of the Colombia-Venezuela border.
A formal argument used by the Americans to accuse Maduro and Cabello in ‘drug terrorism’ (and imitate its link to the ‘Patriot Act’) is actually known to everyone and it plane and clear. One does not have to be an intelligence officer to learn about it.
Hence a legitimate question: What is going on? What all this commotion? And why did Trump, Barr and Pompeo, who miserably failed CIA’s clandestine operation of agent infiltration into the inner circle of Nicolas Maduro (Cabello’s recruitment) in August 2019 and who clearly underperformed during the talks in Oslo and Barbados, all of a sudden begin to act sharply, seamlessly and impeccably accurately?
It is not that long ago that after the US intelligence flunked the operation run by Mauricio Claver-Carone and John Bolton (who retired after that failure) all of them had felt confused and hesitant; as a result, Venezuela was put ‘on hold’ in the plans of the United States for at least the next six months.
Though this pause was enough for the Americans to topple the regime of Evo Morales in Bolivia, which is close to the Chavist regime and the Russian regime, using the scenario which is comparable to the Venezuelan one.
And now the US once again came at Venezuela in a decisive and systemic and specific manner. This mean that Trump and special services have fully recovered from their failed clandestine operation in August 2019 and they proceeded with their ‘Plan B.’
The criminal charges against Maduro, Cabello and other Chavists and offering of rewards on their heads is indeed the ‘Plan B’ – a new plan for ousting the Chavist regime which should work by the next presidential elections in the United States – so as to catapult Trump into the US presidential chair for the second term.
Based on the consistency of their actions and the clearly well-planned ‘choir performance’ by the duet of Barr and Pompeo it becomes clear that this plan is not just another successful improvisation by Trump, but on the contrary it represents a ‘textbook’ for setting up an elaborate “apex” coup-d’état.
This ‘Plan B’ is underpinned by a very simple yet very elegant operative combination:
– The defendants in the case (Maduro, Cabello, etc.) officially are officially labelled ‘criminal offenders’ and placed on a wanted list, calling all the ‘not indifferent’ people on planet Earth to facilitate the search and even assist in arresting these ‘extremely dangerous criminal offenders.’
– The reward is offered in United States dollars for each of the criminal offenders for their crimes against the US. Interestingly, one can get the reward for both the ‘head’ of the criminal offender and any information about their actual whereabouts traffic routes, which facilitates the arrest.
Since this moment, a real manhunt is launched against Maduro, Cabello, Carbajal, etc. – just like in case of wild animals or scalps of the American Indians of the times of conquering Wild West. Anyone can get the reward, provided they get the scalp of a person on the ‘Barr’s List – a member of the opposition, FARC insurgent or a person from Maduro’s inner circle with access to the ‘trophy.’
Size of the reward – $10 million – 15 million – is comparable with the amounts paid by Americans for the capture or murder of high-ranking (the inner circle of Saddam Hussein) Iraqi government officials and defense officials during the second Iraqi war (2003). This time around, they would be either turned over by their own men or someone else.
‘The Barr’s List’ is quite extensive: It contains 15 persons. Of course, this is a lot – one can’t catch them all at once; yet this extensive list should send a message of ‘unavoidability of punishment,’ and when the United States return to Venezuela (on stabbers of invaders from Colombia and Brazil, on the wave of the coronavirus pandemic or due to an internal ‘apex’ coup d’état) – the people who are in the middle of that list or at the bottom of it (such as Padrino and Morena) should now sit quietly and wait in fear.
And they should think how they could alleviate their guilt when the Americans enter Caracas. While in this situation the only outcome is apparently to turn over Maduro, Cabello or Carbajal and thereby earn ‘forgiveness.’
To make sure these people don’t think too long (and so they don’t waste their precious time in endless jactations between the dissenting camps, as was the case on April 30, 2019), William Barr offered them additional stimulus: On March 26, 2020 the US authorities froze (i.e. arrested) the assets of existing and former senior officials of Venezuela, who in absence had been charged with ‘drug terrorism’ and commission of other senior crimes, for the amount exceeding $450 million.
Now people from the second echelon of the ‘Barr’s List have additional incentive: Not just make some money with the reward by turning over Maduro or Cabello to the Americans (or information about their whereabouts thus pointing them to the ‘green berets’ or ‘seals’) but also get their personal financial assets stored abroad and arrested by the Americans back (in offshore destinations or in Swiss banks invested in real estate assets in the United States, etc.) $450 million is obviously not a huge amount, however, this is just the beginning.
The threat to lose their ‘hard-earned’ assets has been clearly pronounced by the US officials. And all the Chavists understand this.
For Maduro and Cabello these accusations are a clear and strong hint that both these Chavist leaders are still ‘on the hook’ of CIA: Maduro as the man who in 2019 in Oslo and on Barbados held negotiations with the US (and hence the US intelligence) about turning over Venezuela in return for guarantees of personal security and return of his personal assets arrested by the United States, and such talks abruptly ended in August 2019; Cabello as the man who initiated agent relations with the US career intelligence officer Mauricio Claver-Carone, and who almost became the most valuable high-ranking US intelligence agent in Venezuela in the entire history of CIA.
Maduro reminds us that he has been ‘smeared’ by his collaboration with the Americans: All his clandestine talks in Oslo with representatives of the US intelligence have been duly documented (recorded and videotaped).
They made it clear to Cabello that even despite the CIA fiasco in August 2019, when the Russian almost caught Cabello with Mauricio Claver-Carone red-handed at the session of his meeting with an agent, connection of Diosdado with CIA has not been aborted – due to the obligations he had the time to take on, and these obligations must be discharged. Otherwise, both of them risk sharing the same fate as Noriega’s.
Only this time their own subordinates will turn them over for the ridiculous amount of $15 million.
Generally speaking, this operative combination ideally fits into the grand scheme of setting up a coup d’état in Venezuela – in the so-called ‘Venezuelan precedent’:
– One of the opposition leaders pronounces himself the country’s president; the US acknowledge him immediately, after the US all its Western and non-Western allies acknowledge this person;
– the US arrests the country’s bank accounts and assets abroad and hand over all the arrested assets to the new president; after the US the Western allies to the same in their respective territories; using this money the new president buys loyalty of the army’s senior commanders and political elites; among the arrested assets are personal funds accumulated on overseas bank accounts of the current leaders of the country, including assets in accounts opened in the name of stand-in persons, real estate, securities, and business assets;
– Concurrently the US imposes sanctions on any companies, banks transacting with the companies and banks owned by the country subjected to the coup-d’état; as a result, the country experiences an economic collapse, oil is no longer sold, salaries are no longer paid, etc.
– At a pretext of control over fair distribution of humanitarian aid, foreign troops enter the country, while at a pretext of humanitarian intervention real intervention is launched;
– Concurrently mass demonstrations take place across the country, people who have nothing to eat start protesting, in the classic ‘color revolution’ style, and the authorities waste precious time trying to find the single center of command, suggesting that its key threat is a classic ‘Maidan’ a-la the one in Kiev in 2014 or Yerevan in 2014 and 2018.
– At the same time, an old friend enters the President’s office from an adjacent office and tells him that he’s done with his job and no one needs them anymore: That it’s time to go, while they let him go amicably; that it’s not him, it’s ‘us, the assistants, who have not been able to save’; that it’s just the time, nothing personal, etc.
From the technological standpoint this scheme is quite versatile and applicable to various countries, including the Russian Federation. Under certain circumstances Russia may as well become the ‘projection’ of Venezuela since не только the largest Russian companies and banks keep their assets and bank accounts abroad, but also most part of the political elites that keep their assets abroad.
And based on the ‘Kremlin Report’ by S. Mnuchin, the United States has long been aware of such bank accounts and assets.
Just to imagine for a second that in this Venezuelan tragedy (a theatrical term) instead of Guaido one places, well, Navalny (which is by the way another ‘spin doctor’ project of the West), and Trump would acknowledge him as president and would all of a sudden freeze personal funds from all our government officials (current and future ones) and the state oligarchs and then he would hand them over to this figure, the consequences would not be hard to figure out.
This ‘Plan B’ by Barr and Pompeo is indeed a practical implementation of the ‘Venezuelan precedent’ technology adjusted taking into account CIA’s failure in August 2019; only in this case the head of the country (Maduro) is not only hit from ‘below’ or ‘from the side’ (by his own allies and compatriots ready and willing to turn him over in return for personal guarantees and return of their arrested assets), but this time pressure would come from ‘above’ – a threat of criminal prosecution by the United States backed up by the entire might of their diplomacy, armed forces, and special services.
As a result, Maduro, Cabello, and other subjects of the Barr’s List fund themselves pressed in a vice: one the one hand they face criminal prosecution by the US and its allies (and possibly extrajudicial liquidation as ‘drug terrorists’ using a suitable article of the ‘Patriot Act’ which is still valid); on the other hand – ‘hand over’ to the Americans (handcuffed) by their very own colleagues (for a sizable cash reward). In this situation, there is plenty to think about.
Andrey V. Manoylo, Doctor of Political Science, Professor, Political Science Department, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (Leninskie Gory 1, 119991 Moscow, Russia), email address: email@example.com
 Nicolás Maduro Moros and 14 current and former Venezuelan officials charged with narco-terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking and other criminal charges. Maduro and other high-ranking Venezuelan officials allegedly partnered with the FARC to use cocaine as a weapon to “flood” the United States. [Electronic document] / Drug Enforcement Administration (Drug Enforcement Agency of the US Department of Justice). Official website. 2020, 26 march. URL: https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2020/03/26/nicolas-maduro-moros-and-14-current-and-former-venezuelan-officials (Access date: March 26, 2020)
 US authorities charge Maduro with involvement in narco-terrorism. [Electronic document] / TASS. Official website. 2020, March 26, 2020. 18:13. URL: https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/8088977 (Access date: March 26, 2020)
 US authorities charged Maduro with drug trafficking. [Electronic document] / Interfax: Official website. March 26, 2020. 19:43. URL: https://www.interfax.ru/world/701101 (Access date: March 26, 2020)
The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.