Saying drug cartels are trying to take advantage of the coronavirus for their own gain, President Trump ordered US Navy ships to the Venezuelan coast for counter-narcotics operations. Officials tied this directly to a recent US indictment of President Maduro.
This is just the latest US military posture adjustment to target Venezuela since President Trump declared Juan Guaido to be the president, and claimed Maduro was ousted. The administration has not ruled out imposing regime change militarily.
This will be one of the biggest US military operations of the sort since 1989, when the US invaded Panama and ousted Gen. Manuel Noriega on drug charges. Attorney General William Barr wrote the legal justification for Noriega invasion, and also wrote the recent justification for a bounty against Maduro.
Venezuela’s Communications Minister dismissed this as a “desperate attempt to distract attention” from the US coronavirus crisis. He also suggested that the US should, if it wants to cut off cocaine trade, worry about neighboring Colombia, a close US ally, instead of Venezuela.