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The head of the U.S. Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, said on Thursday that he is concerned about the “increase in drug trafficking from Colombia to Venezuela” and that tyrant Nicolás Maduro uses drug trafficking to “finance his illicit activities.”
Venezuela, according to the U.S. High Command, at a press conference in Panama, is experiencing a “terrible” situation because a “generation of autocrats” is in power, which has pushed millions of people to flee the South American country.
“The migration (caused by the tyranny) of Maduro, and how he continues to use drug trafficking to finance his illegal activities and I see an increase in drug trafficking from Colombia to Venezuela and from nations across the Caribbean to Central America and all of this is a concern,” he said.
Faller called Sunday’s legislative elections in Venezuela, which unsurprisingly resulted in victory for Nicolás Maduro’s allies, “illegitimate” and have been rejected by the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union and fifty countries.
“The unity of the international community has been very important,” the military chief said.
Faller said the United States shares the security concerns of “those 5 million people who have been forced to migrate” because of the widespread crisis in Venezuela.
“Migration is a big concern, because of border security,” he added.
Faller held a press conference on Thursday in Panama, a country he is visiting for the fourth time to strengthen cooperation in the fight against corruption, money laundering and drug trafficking.
He met with Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo and participated along with the Ministers of Public Security, Juan Pino, and Foreign Affairs, Erika Mouynes, in a meeting of the High Level Security Dialogue focused on issues such as corruption, the fight against money laundering, cyber security, border security and illegal fishing.
“The dialogue we had today highlighted the progress Panama has made and the recognition of the need to stop money laundering (…) it is important that we can be one step ahead of the threat of these criminal organizations and what I saw today is a great hope for Panama’s vision and its work as a regional leader to dismantle and defeat them,” said Faller.