The US environmental envoy John Kerry (you remember him, right?) shook hands with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, who has a price of $15 million on his head, courtesy of the US government. Both men were in Sharm el Sheikh to attend UN climate summit COP27.
Except that on March 26, 2020, the United States Department of Justice charged Maduro and other Venezuelan officials with what AG William Barr described as “narco-terrorism”: the shipping of cocaine to the US to wage a health war on US citizens. According to Barr, Venezuelan leaders and the Colombian FARC faction organized an “air bridge” from a Venezuelan airbase transporting cocaine to Central America and a sea route to the Caribbean, to “flood America with cocaine.” The US government offered $15 million for any information that would lead to his arrest.
The State Department said the handshake was “unplanned,” and “immaterial,” possibly because the US would like to rely on Venezuelan oil to bring down gasoline prices.
For the record, in a State Department Press Briefing on November 2, Department Spokesperson Ned Price, with John Kerry standing next to him, was asked: “The Colombian president held yesterday this meeting in Caracas with Nicolas Maduro. They discussed the re-entry of Venezuela into the inter-American human rights system. What’s your position? Do you have any comment on that?”
Price responded: “The Maduro regime’s policies – and this is evidenced around the world – but they have generated poor economic, political, and human rights conditions in Venezuela. We of course respect the sovereign rights of governments to chart their own foreign policy. We also call on democratic governments to uphold the democratic norms that have been broken by authoritarian regimes like Maduro’s in Venezuela. It is our goal to support the democratic aspirations of the people of Venezuela who have been, again, systematically denied of those rights by the Maduro regime.”
Now we’re all on the same page.