AT today’s coronavirus press briefing, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that the US will soon be parking anti-drug Navy ships in Venezuela’s backyard, otherwise known as the Caribbean Sea:
THE HILL – Trump administration officials announced Wednesday that the U.S. military would send naval ships and aircraft to the Caribbean as part of an enhanced counternarcotics operation.
President Trump and other top officials discussed the operation at the top of a White House coronavirus briefing Wednesday evening. Trump said it was important not to let drug cartels “exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the Pentagon would deploy additional ships, aircraft and security forces to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility as part of the operation.
“At a time when the nation and the Department of Defense are focused on protecting the American people from the spread from the coronavirus, we also remain vigilant to the many other threats the country faces,” Esper told reporters.
“Today, at the president’s direction, the Department of Defense in close cooperation with our interagency partners, began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea,” he continued.
I don’t know if Venezuela was specifically mentioned in the announcement, but that appears to be the key focus of this deployment.
Earlier today, the AP reported this likely has much to do with Maduro’s drug indictment by the DOJ this week:
The Trump administration will soon announce that the U.S. is moving naval ships toward Venezuela as it enhances counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean following a U.S. drug indictment against Nicolás Maduro, according to three people familiar with the situation.
The deployment could be announced as early as Wednesday, according to the people, who were speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss it ahead of the official announcement.
The mission is part of the U.S.’s previously announced commitment to enhance anti-drug operations in the hemisphere.
But its taken on greater urgency following last week’s indictment of Maduro, Venezuela’s embattled socialist leader, and members of his inner circle and military . They are accused of leading a narcoterrorist conspiracy responsible for smuggling up to 250 metric tons of cocaine a year into the U.S., about half of it by sea.
I think this is a great idea. It not only protects the US, but is another way to put pressure on Maduro and his henchmen in hopes of eventually driving them out of power.