Tags: Trump Administration | Venezuela | nicolásmaduro | drugs | caribbean | counternarcotics

US Caribbean Military Presence Viewed as Maduro Warning

president nicolas maduro speaks at a conference
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to businessmen in 2019. (Photo by Federico Parra / AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 05 April 2020 10:53 AM

Announced as a "counter-narcotics operation," the reassignment of Navy and Air Force assets in the Caribbean is being considered a warning shot fired at Nicolas Maduro's Venezuelan regime.

"When we started the maximum pressure policy in January, the president analyzed what our military assets were in the Western Hemisphere because obviously, all the options were and are on the table," a senior administration official the Miami Herald.

"There was no balance; most of our assets were in the Middle East, Asia, etc., so he asked to recalibrate those assets to have the necessary presence in the hemisphere to see where this situation was going."

Trump has sought to curtail the drug smuggling from Latin America, particularly amid the fear of potential increased drug abuse as Americans are out of work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The amount of assets being mobilized to the region is alarming, though, according to Adam Isaacson, the director of the Defense Oversight program at the Washington Office on Latin America, per the Herald.

"There is some serious military hardware listed here" Adam Isaacson tweeted.

"I can't recall the last time there were U.S. Navy destroyers in the Caribbean or the eastern Pacific coast (on operations, not exercises). And each E-3 AWACS plane costs more than a quarter-billion dollars."

The operation is going to surveillance drug cartel movement, potential narcoterrorists, and even watch the illegal migration across the U.S.-Mexico border, the White House announced this week.

"AWACs is one of the aircraft we have used to conduct detection and monitoring operations in the past," Southern Command spokesman José Ruiz told the Herald. "Insofar as Navy ships are concerned, flight-deck capable ships are one of the assets that comprise the kind of force package that enables the disruption of illicit drugs flowing into the U.S."

The assets in the region are not only concerned with the Venezuelan regime, but with Cuba, too.

"The military operation announced by the U.S. government involving deployment of warships near Venezuela and special troops movements is a serious threat to the peace of all in the region," Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez tweeted. "Alleged combating of drug trafficking is just an opportunistic pretext."

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Announced as a "counter-narcotics operation," the reassignment of Navy and Air Force assets in the Caribbean is being considered a warning shot fired at Nicolas Maduro's Venezuelan regime....
nicolásmaduro, drugs, caribbean, counternarcotics
Sunday, 05 April 2020 10:53 AM
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