Statement of ILPS Chairperson Len Cooper
29 March 2020
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) denounces the US drug trafficking charges hurled by the US against elected President Nicolas Maduro and senior government officials of Venezuela.
The charges are trumped-up and without basis. This is but another attempt to oust Maduro from his legitimate and anti-imperialist leadership after previous US coup attempts and assassination plots failed
US Attorney General William Barr charged Maduro of conspiring with Colombia’s FARC rebels “to flood the United States with cocaine”. FARC leaders Ivan Marquez and Jesus Santrich were similarly charged.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a US $15 million bounty for so-called information against Maduro and $10 million for 14 other officials. One of the officials indicted, Cliver Alcala, confessed to organising a coup attempt against Maduro.
Facts belie the “narco-terrorism” accusation. The bulk of cocaine and heroin shipments produced leave via the Colombian Pacific, arriving in Panama, Honduras and Mexico, countries where the United States has at least 18 military bases. The US is the principal consumer of cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine, pharmaceutical stimulant and ecstasy in the world.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), revenue from the drug trade is estimated to be at least US $320 billion in 2017. Of this, at least 95 percent is allegedly made in the recipient countries, namely the US, Canada and Europe, while the remaining five percent is made by the producing countries.
Coca production in rural areas is directly influenced by poverty. The Colombian government’s signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States in 2012 meant that the land destined for these crops has multiplied greatly. Where previously there was food crop production, virgin forests or even national parks are now large areas dedicated to coca cultivation.
More US economic sanctions on Venezuela based on these “narco-terrorism” false charges would hurt the Venezuelan and American people more at a time when the global pandemic of COVID-19 is spreading uncontrollably.
On April 19, Venezuelan Independence Day, we call on all ILPS members worldwide to show solidarity with the Venezuelan people. No quarantine can prevent us from showing our much-needed support.