Can Venezuela indict its president

The United States are indicting Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro of drug trafficking, and a possible accomplice turns up - according to his own statements, he was planning a coup

(afp / dpa)/wde. After the USA brought charges against Venezuela's head of state Nicolás Maduro and several high-ranking politicians and military officials for “narco-terrorism”, one of the accused came forward. The former Venezuelan General Cliver Alcalá sought contact with the United States Embassy in Bogotá and made initial statements, reported the newspaper El Tiempo on Saturday night (local time). According to a report by the television station Caracol, he was flown from Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast to the USA, where he is supposed to testify as a key witness against Maduro.

The Venezuelan government began investigations against Alcalá and opposition leader Juan Guaidó and some of his colleagues on Thursday. She responded to a video posted by Alcalá on Twitter, saying that he was planning a coup. Guaidó and consultants from the USA were privy to the plans, he says. The Colombian security forces recently confiscated an arms shipment that Alcalá said was intended for a secret commando.

$ 15 million bounty

Alcalá apparently prefers to face the drug smuggling allegations made by the US judiciary against him. The US put a $ 15 million bounty on Maduro on Thursday. The American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the reward was paid for reports that led to the arrest and conviction of the left-wing nationalist president. Justice Minister William Barr simultaneously announced the indictments against Maduro and Alcalá as well as against Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the President of the Supreme Court, Maikel Moreno, the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, the former head of military intelligence Hugo Carvajal and Industry Minister Tareck El Aissami.

They are charged with plotting to split off the Colombian Farc guerrillas to flood the United States with cocaine. According to this, Maduro leads a drug trafficking ring called the “Cartel of the Suns”. In addition to government representatives, the ring would also include Venezuelan military and judicial representatives.

A charge against an incumbent head of state is extremely unusual. In the 1980s, the US took similar action against Panama's de facto head of state Manuel Noriega.

Maduro reacts with insults

In response to a televised address, the Venezuelan President called the American President Donald Trump a “creep”, “cowboy” and “racist” and accused him of using blackmail methods in international relations.

The American government is one of Maduro's fiercest opponents. She recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as legitimate interim president in early 2019. Since then she has been calling for a change of power. So far, Guaidó has not been able to assert himself in Venezuela. When he declared himself interim president, he still mobilized the masses. Meanwhile the influx has decreased. Despite increased American sanctions, Maduro is still firmly in the saddle.