On Friday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr urging him to establish a special unit to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by Nicolás Maduro and his regime controlling Venezuela. By consolidating efforts into a special unit, Rubio insisted the U.S. Justice Department can more effectively support and empower its investigators and prosecutors to serve justice on Maduro and his regime.
Rubio is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Attorney General Barr:
Narcoterrorist Nicolás Maduro continues to illegitimately hold himself out as the President of Venezuela. Maduro’s illegal defiance of Venezuela’s constitutional order is an affront to the Venezuelan people and democracy worldwide but is unfortunately entirely consistent with his corrupt and criminal history. As a matter of regional stability and national security, I write to respectfully ask you to deploy the full weight of the United States Department of Justice to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of the Maduro regime.
Maduro surrounds himself with self-serving criminal loyalists. This diminishing and insular circle of associates continues – often with the aid of the governments of Cuba, Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran – to engage in fruitful transnational criminal enterprises that beget money and power to themselves and to Maduro. To be certain, the Maduro regime threatens our common interests and people well beyond the borders of Venezuela, including our allies in the region, and is a threat to democracy, regional stability, and consequently our own national security.
While creating and perpetuating an immense humanitarian crisis, Maduro and his cronies continue to profit personally from their crimes against their country and its citizens. The long list of Maduro’s crimes includes the illegal mining and trafficking of minerals, transnational drug trafficking, and theft of substantial sums of money from the Venezuelan government and hiding it in offshore bank accounts worldwide. Maduro violates the human rights of those who oppose him, including the illegal detainment, torture, and murder of political opponents. Our allies in the region have formally accused the regime of crimes against humanity. The Maduro regime provides safe haven to U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations like the FARC and ELN. Our Colombian allies have reported that the Maduro regime is now providing training in anti-aircraft weapons to ELN terrorists.
I appreciate the considerable expertise of the various components of your department and the daily work the department undertakes to bring criminals to justice. With regard to Maduro and his criminal allies, I ask you to appropriately undertake further engagement with our intelligence community and with our allies in the region to investigate and ensure full visibility of Maduro’s crimes.
I respectfully urge you to specifically engage with your department’s investigators and prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida. Unfortunately, South Florida is no stranger to transnational criminal enterprises. Therefore, I encourage you to consider establishing a special unit or task force to appropriately consolidate investigations and prosecutions related to the Maduro crime family into a Florida-based unit that could more effectively coordinate evidence and intelligence, including with our allies in the region, to best support and empower investigators and prosecutors to serve justice on Nicolás Maduro and his regime.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.