Will Mrs. Maduro's relatives get 30 years?
We have a little time this week to catch up with Venezuela, which is back in the news. It looks as if Venezuela's first lady may have to visit her nephews in a U.S. jail.
This is from Reuters:
Two nephews of Venezuela's first lady should serve at least 30 years in prison for their convictions in the United States on drug trafficking charges, U.S. prosecutors said on Monday.
They said in a filing in federal court in Manhattan that the two men, Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, tried to make $20 million through drug trafficking so as to keep their family in power and to "enrich themselves while their countrymen starved in the streets."
The men are nephews of Cilia Flores, the wife of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
I am not shocked that a couple of Mrs. Maduro's nephews would diversify by going into the drug business. After all, everything else has collapsed in Venezuela. It's tough to make an honest living in that country, as we hear from people who have to find creative ways just to get milk for their children.
Maduro naturally blasted the convictions. What's new about that?
We do give thumbs up here to the DEA and regional support. Somebody passed this info to the DEA, and that shows that cooperation is happening with many countries in the region. The tip apparently came from the Dominican Republic, but we will never know for sure. Someone obviously knew that the two men were on a particular plane headed for a particular destination.
The whole thing must have been a shock to President and Mrs. Maduro, who thought the DEA was no longer a problem for them.
We recall that President Hugo Chávez expelled the DEA in 2005. Nevertheless, the DEA indicted two former officials in absentia and followed that with Pedro Luís Martín Olivares, ex-chief of finance and anti-drug tsar, Jesús Alfredo Itriago.
As the article points out, the arrests of the first lady's nephews show that the DEA has gotten up close and personal. It also shows that someone "tipped" the DEA. My guess is that a few other countries in the region are getting tired of Maduro, too.