Washington’s favorite Venezuelan opposition leader exposes links with Colombian paramilitary and narco networks
While the US and its allies glorify Leopoldo López as a new MLK, the US-backed Venezuelan opposition collaborates with Colombia’s narco-affiliated, death squad-sponsoring former President Álvaro Uribe.
by Ben Norton
Part 6 - Leopoldo López meets with narco-linked President Iván Duque
Colombia’s current president, Iván Duque Márquez, is Álvaro Uribe’s handpicked successor, and follows in his far-right footsteps.
Like Uribe, Duque is linked to drug traffickers and organized crime networks in the country. Since he came to office in a deeply contested election in 2018, in which he was credibly accused of fraud, Colombian journalists have exposed Duque’s ties to a notorious drug lord named José Guillermo “Ñeñe” Hernández.
Ñeñe Hernández was an extremely wealthy rancher involved in the drug trade, who used his illicit money to fund right-wing politicians. A leaked recording exposed that Duque used under-the-table funding from Ñeñe in order to bribe Colombians and buy votes in the 2018 election. The Colombian public prosecutor and police are investigating Ñeñe, who died in Brazil under strange circumstances in 2019, for his role in drug trafficking and killings.
When Leopoldo López visited Colombia in December, he also met with Iván Duque.
The Colombian president invited the Venezuelan opposition extremist onto his program “Prevención y Acción” (Prevention and Action), a daily show in which the government discusses the measures it is taking to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Duque took advantage of the massive audience of average Colombians who watch the coronavirus program, which is supposed to be apolitical, to bombard his citizens with anti-Venezuela propaganda.
At the end of the broadcast, Duque and López spoke for nearly 10 minutes about the situation in Venezuela.
Duque referred to Venezuela’s democratically elected government as a “dictatorship of extreme brutality,” while heaping praise on López, who he declared “has had a voice full of courage and conviction” and a “voice of freedom.”
For his part, López exacerbated xenophobia inside Colombia by insisting that, if Maduro’s government was not soon overthrown, hordes of Venezuelan immigrants would continue crossing the border, and bring the coronavirus along with them, infecting their neighbors.
López also heaped enthusiastic praise on the far-right Colombian government in the TV broadcast, calling it “an example for the world.”
That week, the corpses of human rights defenders continued to pile up, bringing the total of mass killings of social movement activists in Colombia in 2020 to 86, with nearly 300 victims.
López’s gushing praise for the Colombian government arrived as a new report revealed how the right-wing regime had arrested 10,471 students on trumped-up terrorism or rebellion charges between 2000 and 2018.
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