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Column 111813 Brewer

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cuba, Venezuela and Drug Trafficking: Waging the Anti-USA 'New Cold War'

By Jerry Brewer

As in the game of chess, calculated positional play allows complex strategic plans to sometimes reach fruition through tactics and moves that set up threats and defenses. Position, control, and dynamic imbalances set the stage for desired results, along with sacrifices that need to be made.

The vicious scourge of drug trafficking, and the accompanying massive death tolls and misery within this hemisphere, are believed by many to be strategically driven, facilitated, manipulated, and/or orchestrated by rogue state governments in the Americas.

Cuba was long suspected of state complicity in drug trafficking, as far back as the 1960s, whereas in the 1980s strong evidence of the Cuban drug connection was shown.

With Venezuela as a tool for vociferous recriminations against the United States (via the buffoonish-like bully pulpit of Venezuela's late strong man Hugo Chavez), Fidel Castro evidently found, and anointed, Chavez as a pawn to personify his personal and intense hatred of the United States, and ultimately mask his own deviant complicity.

This author participated in a radio interview on November 7, 2013, along with a former officer that served in Venezuela's military.  Jesus Gonzalez Cazorla, a retired lieutenant colonel, described Cuba as a bridge for drug trafficking, and Cuba and Venezuela as part of a "new cold war" in which Cuba controls Venezuela, and is directed by Cuban intelligence and other officials. "What we think is that, all we know, the government of Venezuela is directed by the Cubans, by the Castro brothers, and they have a politic [policy] that the drug that goes to the States is something that is going to destroy the United States that (is) the main enemy of the Cubans, of the government of Cuba," he said. And he went on to say that drugs from Colombia pass through Venezuela as "part of what they call 'the new cold war.'"

In a book published in February 2005, entitled "Conexión Habana," Spanish authors Santiago Botello y Mauricio Angulo describe their yearlong investigation in Cuba, with the use of a hidden camera, to expose the Cuba connection and complicity with government authorities. They describe "Cuba's strategic location within the drug smuggling pipeline" from South and Central America, describing the "privileged" spot on the map of drug traffickers. Author Angulo stated, "It is impossible, in a country where everything is controlled, to move cocaine quantities such as those moved unless the Government or the police are aware."

Beginning in the fall of 1981, sources revealed that "proof was undeniable: in return for massive payoffs, Fidel Castro was providing the protection of Cuban ports and territorial waters to major drug smugglers shuttling between Latin America and the southeastern United States."

Four close aides to Fidel Castro were convicted on charges of smuggling drugs into the US on November 15, 1982.  René Rodríguez-Cruz, a senior official of the DGI (Cuban Intelligence Service) was one of the four convicted. A former member of the DGI testified in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida, on February 7, 1983, that "Cuban involvement in international drug operations was a multifaceted, methodical campaign aimed at undermining the United States and its international stature."

Since 2005, when Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez terminated all cooperation with the U.S. DEA, Venezuela became a primary and expanding drug transshipment hub.  Reports have linked officials in the Venezuelan military and intelligence cadre to materially assisting the FARC to traffic cocaine on their soil. Washington subsequently named two serving and one former Venezuelan official as complicit in FARC's actions.

The ex-President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, recognized the Chavez regime's criminal role and proclaimed in Miami in May 2012 that, "The dictatorship of the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, converted Venezuela into a narcotrafficking paradise."

Former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Charles Ford announced in a May 15, 2008 memo that former President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya had been surrounded by people involved in organized crime. Further allegations were that Zelaya was facilitating the transfer of U.S.-bound cocaine "from Venezuela through Honduras." Zelaya was a trusted and close ally and supporter of Hugo Chavez.

Zelaya was removed from office in 2009 for attempting to emulate his mentor Chavez's extension of presidential term limits, and he left Honduras in 2010 for the Dominican Republic. Hugo Chavez subsequently rewarded Zelaya, designating him to be the "new chief coordinator and policy adviser for the defense, independence and democracy" of the Petrocaribe oil allotment program while in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic served as a major transshipment point for South American drugs. Substantial money laundering activities in the Dominican Republic were reported since 2009. The Dominican Republic has been used, and recently reported as a hub, for drug trafficking activities that included payments to military and air traffic controllers.

In May 2011 Zelaya returned, from exile in the Dominican Republic, to Honduras via a Venezuelan-owned aircraft.

The U.S. continues to suffer a drug habit that has been estimated to be as high as US$80 billion. This while the death and bloody facilitation of these transfers through a criminal-terror nexus in this hemisphere appears to be clearly supported through what could be described as where crime and rogue governments embrace.

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Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at www.cjiausa.org.

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