Cilia Flores’ nephews, Efrain and Francisco Flores, appeared before a judge in a New York City courtroom earlier today and pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges. The pair were arrested in a DEA sting operation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on November 10 for allegedly arranging to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States.
The two men will next appear in court on February 29. The pair face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Military Officers Next on DEA List
On Wednesday, media reports began to surface that suggested that Venezuelan military officials had been indicted or were about to be indicted by a U.S. court over allegations of being involved in drug trafficking activities. Reuters reported that the head of the National Guard, Major General Nestor Reverol, and a high-ranking military officer named Edylberto Molina will be named in an indictment that could be made public next month. The New York Times also reported on the story on Wednesday.
According to the media reports, Reverol and Molina are believed to be passing information of law enforcement activities to drug traffickers in and around Venezuela.
Reverol was named head of the National Guard in October 2014 by Maduro.
Cabello: Accusations Part of “Campaign Against the Homeland”
Diosdado Cabello spent some time on his weekly television show yesterday addressing the allegations against Reverol and Molina, calling them part of a “campaign against the homeland”. Cabello said:
Today marks the beginning of a campaign that isn’t new. It’s against General Reverol. I lived through one all of this year, starting this year. Now they’ve got it in for someone else. It’s not against Diosdado Cabello: it’s against the homeland.
Cabello also lashed out against opposition politicians for their lack of public outrage over these allegations and similar others made against other high ranking PSUV figures. Cabello said:
The opposition keeps really quiet because they believe they will rule over the ruins of our homeland. They’re wrong! They will not rule. They will never see the ruins of our homeland.
Maduro: MUD Cheated in Elections
Speaking at an event marking the 185th anniversary of Simon Bolivar’s death in Caracas yesterday, Maduro said that there was “mounting evidence” that the MUD had cheated in the election, although he did not go into details.
Below, a video of Maduro’s comments along with my translation:
Maduro: No one can underestimate the success of elections, which was a result of a bunch of circumstances. Some were economic, socio-political, psychological — they were fundamental causes. Others were political; weaknesses in government and leadership, and we’ve pointed them out so that we can correct them.
Others were, dear heads of the Public Powers [government ministries], caused by the anti-politics of fraud, cheating and electoral corruption. Investigations have been opened, and there is mounting evidence of how this was done over here, and that was done over there. It was all part of an operation. One asks, “How long had they been doing this? Was it just for these elections, or is there an evil fraud machinery at play?”. Do you know how these groups moved to control parts of the electoral system? To violate their security systems, and to pay for votes? Do you know what impact that had? The fact is that this is a phenomenon that has come back. We have evidence, testimony. Some of the people we’ve captured have started to talk about “Operation Fanny Pack”. It’s true. I think that this is all part of a total package — the economic, psychological and electrical war.
Sometimes, when things move so fast we forget the details: “look at this, look at that”. Do you know that one of these people who has a serious criminal past — he’s a serious criminal, very violent — he exploded on the day of the elections. He was carrying a grenade in his fanny pack and it exploded. Do you know what was in the fanny pack? Well, the investigators found out. There were the remains of propaganda [belonging to] one of the most fascist right wing figures, and he had a lot of money.
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