US places $15m bounty on president of Venezuela

US places $15m bounty on president of Venezuela

The United States is offering  $15 million for information leading to the arrest of the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro on drug-trafficking cha

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The United States is offering  $15 million for information leading to the arrest of the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro on drug-trafficking charges, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

This came after the United States Department of Justice indicted Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolas Maduro and several key aides including the chief justice on charges of narco-terrorism on Thursday, March 26. The socialist leader and other Venezuelan officials were accused of conspiring with Colombian rebels “to flood the United States with cocaine”.

A statement by the US Department of Justice read:
“We estimate that somewhere between 200 and 250 metric tonnes of cocaine are shipped out of Venezuela by these routes. Those 250 metric tonnes equates to 30 million lethal doses. The Venezuelan people deserve a transparent, responsible, representative government that serves the needs of the people – and that does not…. engage in illicit narcotics trafficking. These individuals violated the public trust by facilitating shipments of narcotics from Venezuela, including control over planes that leave from a Venezuelan airbase.”

Pompeo announced the reward as the Justice Department unveiled charges against Maduro, describing him like a common criminal rather than a head of state as Washington tries to help opposition leader Juan Guaido take power.

“The Venezuelan people deserve a transparent, responsible, representative government that serves the needs of the people — and that does not betray the trust of the people by condoning or employing public officials that engage in illicit narcotics trafficking,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Maduro and more than a dozen Venezuelan officials including the country’s chief justice were charged with narco-terrorism. The socialist leader and other Venezuelan officials were accused of conspiring with Colombian rebels “to flood the United States with cocaine”.

Maduro narrowly won a presidential election in April 2013 after the death of his mentor, President Hugo Chávez. He was elected to a second term in May 2018 in an election seen as flawed by international observers. Though opposition leader, Juan Guaidó who has won the support of many in the country as well as US and EU leaders has continuously accused Maduro of being unfit for office, the socialist leader has however remained in power and is backed by Russia, China and Cuba.

Venezuela has experienced economic collapse, inflation was 800,000% last year and three million people have left the country.