HomeNewsBriefVenezuela President’s Cabinet Choice Further Politicizes Drug Cases
BRIEF

Venezuela President’s Cabinet Choice Further Politicizes Drug Cases

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 3 AUG 2016 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has named a man US authorities accused of drug trafficking as the country's new Interior minister, a move that further politicizes a series of drug cases brought by the United States against Venezuelan officials.

During his weekly presidential television show on August 2, Maduro announced that he had named the former head of Venezuela's anti-drug agency, Nestor Reverol, as interior minister. The announcement came just one day after US federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging Reverol and his former number two at the anti-drug agency with using their positions to facilitate international cocaine trafficking.

Reverol has previously denied the US allegations, citing his service in the security forces. "How am I going to be a narcotrafficker if I have 30 years fighting drug trafficking and searching for capos?" he asked a reporter earlier this year.

Maduro claimed that Reverol's successes in fighting drug trafficking had made him a target for the United States. "That is why the narcotraffickers that direct politics in the United States want to make him pay," the president said.

"I offer him all my solidarity, all my personal support as chief executive, as head of state," Maduro said of Reverol, describing the charges against him as an attack by the "North American empire."

InSight Crime Analysis

Maduro's nomination of Reverol as Interior minister is perhaps the strongest sign to date that the president intends to treat US drug charges against Venezuelan officials as political rather than law enforcement matters. The president has previously moved to protect other officials accused of drug trafficking by the United States and has insinuated that such accusations are part of a US-led campaign to undermine his government -- a charge the US government denies.

Politicization of the issue could make it more difficult for US authorities to successfully prosecute Venezuelan officials suspected of drug trafficking. US prosecutors unsealed the indictment of Reverol and his colleague as Maduro faces a deepening economic crisis and declining popularity that have given momentum to an opposition-led presidential recall effort. This timing could lend credence to Maduro's claims that the charges are motivated by a desire on the part of the United States to see his left-leaning government removed from power.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles 

As long as Maduro remains in office, it is highly unlikely that his government will cooperate with the United States on investigations or prosecutions of officials accused of drug trafficking. Rather than pressuring the Maduro administration into cooperating with US authorities, actions like the unsealing of the Reverol indictment appear more prone to generate a backlash from the Venezuelan government. This is likely concerning for US anti-narcotics officials, as Venezuela is thought to be a key transshipment country for cocaine produced in neighboring Colombia.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 1 DEC 2021

As day broke in Guatemala City on August 31, 2016, a judge named Carlos Ruano anxiously awaited a meeting with one of Guatemala’s most powerful…

ECUADOR / 16 MAY 2022

Ecuadorian gangs are taking another page from the playbook of crime groups in Mexico and Colombia, stepping up targeted killings…

COLOMBIA / 7 MAY 2021

A central Texas lawyer known as the “DWI Dude” will spend more than 15 years in federal prison after deceiving…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…