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Cliver Alcala gets 21 years for narcoterrorism; Tareck el Aisami gets paraded

The U.S. Department of Justice released this on April 8: "U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As a high-ranking member of the Venezuelan military and the Cártel de Los Soles, Clíver Antonio Alcalá Cordones and his co-conspirators sought to weaponize cocaine as they helped the FARC arm its members and ship tons of drugs to the United States.  Alcalá Cordones corrupted the vital institutions of his own country as he helped the FARC flood this country with cocaine — but no longer.  Instead, he will now spend more than two decades in a United States prison.”

Cliver Alcalá was part of that inner circle that Hugo Chavez set up to conduct international relations. The Bolivarian revolution never made its political affinity with criminal and narcoterrorist organizations a secret. Alcalá's engagement with Colombia's FARC is something Venezuela observers have known for many years, but his actions did not happen in a vacuum. Alcalá was not a particulary enlightened military official that figured that helping FARC was his calling, or the way to enrich himself.

Rather, Alcalá's actions were but part of a policy, a strategy formulated by Hugo Chavez and carried through by Nicolás Maduro, that seeks to assist, fund and support in whatever way possible chavismo's partners:

"The level of penetration of FARC in Venezuelan public institutions and officialdom is shockingly disturbing. But above all else, it shows why Hugo Chavez, in clear violation to UN resolutions, keeps siding with FARC: he sees the terrorist group as a useful partner both for internal and foreign policy agendas. As early as 1992-1994 Chavez was on the FARC's take, that's four full years before his election. So committed seem Chavez to the FARC's cause, that at one point he offered Venezuelan oil, to be traded by the rebels in the spot market, and with resulting income MANPADS could be purchased to Aleksander Lukashenko's regime."

In Colombia, no group comes close to FARC in terms of getting material support from Venezuela. Weapons, military uniforms, military support, intelligence, citizenships, money, business ventures, safe houses and camps, territory, communications, financial services, in sum FARC has received carte blanche to operate in Venezuela.

One of FARC's favourites to keep fluid communications with chavismo was of course Piedad Cordoba, the disgraced narcosenator responsible for sitting Alex Saab on Maduro's lap. Cordoba and Saab brought Bogota's Cartel chief German Rubio (aka Alvaro Pulido Vargas) to their Venezuela operation.

Therefore, it was not Alcalá's decision of corrupting the institutions of his country, but State policy designated and kept from Miraflores. Alcalá never had a say in it, nor did Hugo Carvajal, Diosdado Cabello, Ramón Rodríguez Chacín and other Cartél de los Soles thugs involved. Alcalá had nothing to do, for instance, in granting Venezuelan citizenship to FARC's Rodrigo Granda in July 2004. That order came from the very top, and the person in charge of executing it was a very young Tareck el Aisami, in charge of ONIDEX back then.

There is a huge amount of overlap in chavismo's criminal activities. It is a mistake not bourne by the evidence to conclude that Alcalá's was working on his own. The findings for materially assisting FARC and involvement in drug trafficking that caused Alcalá's 21 year sentence could equally be applied to Maduro and Cilia Flores, lest the case of the narco nephews has already been forgotten.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, should seek an equivalent sentence for Hugo Carvajal.

The funds to support these activities and the mechanisms to launder vast illicit proceeds were and continue to be linked to PDVSA, none of whose CEO's (apart from el Aisami) have ever been connected to Cartél de los Soles for some reason.

Meanwhile in Caracas, Maduro ordered his corrupt Attorney General to parade el Aisami again, for his involvement in a pretend anti corruption probe. What Maduro's AG is not letting be known is that most of the corrupt operators used by el Aisami (Alex Saab anyone?) are still in play and making phenomenal amounts of crude trading business for Delcy and Jorge Rodriguez and Maduro.

It is a positive development that the U.S. Department of Justice has established the criminal link between FARC's narcoterrorist operations and chavismo, whose "justice system" is yet to launch the first probe against FARC's partner Cartél de los Soles. It could be because since 1999 its bosses seat in Miraflores, and that weighs more than evidence both in Caracas and Washington.

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