Foreign Interference: Venezuelan Alleged Drug Lord Promotes Effort to Oust Marco Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, listens during the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Hearings to examine implementation of Title I of the CARES Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on June 10, 2020. (Photo by Al Drago …
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A Venezuelan propaganda show hosted by a top henchman of socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro promoted efforts by Democrats in Florida this week to remove Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) from his seat. That henchman, Diosdado Cabello, reportedly ordered Rubio’s assassination in 2017.

Despite Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claiming this year that her party was “gravely concerned” about meddling in American elections by foreign actors, the Democrat Party has yet to distance itself from Venezuelan state propaganda efforts to promote its “Retire Rubio 2022” campaign.

Update: Since this article was published, one of the organizers of the anti-Rubio campaign told the Orlando Sentinel that his campaign’s propaganda had been distributed on Twitter thousands of times; “I have no idea who [Cabello] or 99.999% of the other retweets are,” he said. He did not address coverage on Cabello’s television program website.

Diosdado Cabello is a television host and head of the “national constituent assembly,” an illegal parallel legislature Maduro created to usurp the power of Venezuela’s National Assembly when voters overwhelmingly supported the nation’s opposition in 2015. Overwhelming evidence, including testimony from defecting participants in the drug trade, indicates that Cabello is also the head of the Cartel de los Soles (“cartel of the suns”), a multi-continental cocaine trafficking syndicate run through the Venezuelan military. Cabello holds the rank of captain and is the closest link in Maduro’s inner circle to the armed forces; Maduro was a bus driver before late dictator Hugo Chávez elevated him to foreign minister.

The U.S. government is offering a $10-million reward for the capture and arrest of Cabello. It is the second-largest reward offered for a Venezuelan regime criminal; the U.S. is offering $15 million for Maduro.

The website for the Venezuelan state program Con el Mazo Dando (“Hitting with the Mallet”), hosted by Cabello, published an article alerting Venezuelans to the campaign against Rubio on Monday. Its article, in turn, reflected coverage in the Cuban Communist Party news publication Prensa Latina positively covering a potential removal of Rubio from the Senate.

“This Monday, Democrats in Florida … launched a fundraising campaign against the re-election of Republican Senator Macro Rubio, who they criticize for hyperpartisanship and failed leadership,” Cabello’s propaganda program relayed. The program also shared the news on social media.

Rubio, a Cuban-American whose family fled communism, has used his post on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairmanship on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) to combat international communist influences on a global scale, including efforts to contain the humanitarian damage the Maduro regime has caused to the region. The Maduro regime is a colony of the Cuban Communist Party, reportedly run by tens of thousands of Cuban regime agents.

In response to Rubio’s efforts, Venezuelan and Cuban media have for years published offensive “reports” against him. Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, has alleged that Rubio has ties to drug trafficking and bizarrely claimed that President Donald Trump has referred to him as “the little raft boy.” Cabello himself has referred to the senator as “Narco Rubio” on his television program in response to Rubio referring to him as the “Pablo Escobar of Venezuela,” citing Cuban propaganda to use the insult.

The Rubio campaign has questioned the support from Cabello’s television program to the Democrat strategists behind “Retire Rubio,” but have yet to receive any definitive rejection or condemnation of Cabello.

“The sham ‘Retire Rubio’ campaign run by Democrat strategist Ben Pollara can add a new supporter: Venezuelan thug Diosdado Cabello. While it’s no surprise Diosdado wants Senator Rubio out of office, it’s shameful that Pollara won’t reject his support,” the Rubio campaign said in a statement Wednesday. “Marco Rubio has been the leading voice for Venezuelans who are fighting to restore democracy, and he won’t be swayed by one of Maduro’s thugs. Will Pollara and Florida Democrats reject Diosdado’s support? Will they promise a Democrat nominee won’t capitulate to Diosdado and Maduro? We’ll be waiting.”

Cabello’s role in promoting the campaign, in addition to raising questions about foreign election interference, recalls evidence criminal activity on Cabello’s part placing Rubio in danger, as revealed by a 2017 report in the Miami Herald. The newspaper, citing a law enforcement memo it obtained, reported that American officials had reason to believe that Cabello had ordered “unspecified Mexican individuals” to assassinate Rubio. Cabello is believed to have ties to several major organized crime syndicates around the world through his illicit drug trafficking, including the Mexican Zetas cartel.

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Cabello — alongside Maduro and several other socialist regime officials and a senior member of the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — in March 2020 on charges of “narco-terrorism.” The agency named Cabello as one of several “leaders and managers of the Cártel de Los Soles.” Those indicted allegedly “abused the Venezuelan people and corrupted the legitimate institutions of Venezuela — including parts of the military, intelligence apparatus, legislature, and the judiciary — to facilitate the importation of tons of cocaine into the United States.”

“Cabello Rondón participated in a corrupt and violent narco-terrorism conspiracy between the Cartel of the Suns, a Venezuelan drug-trafficking organization comprised of high-ranking Venezuelan officials, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the State Department informed in its profile of the socialist leader. Among the crimes listed are conspiring with the FARC to “transport and distribute large cocaine shipments … and help provide the FARC with military-grade weapons, including machine guns, ammunition, rocket launchers, and explosives equipment.”

Cabello is also believed to have ties to Middle Eastern jihadist groups. Cabello paid homage to late Iranian terror mastermind Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, which Tehran uses for international terrorist activities.

“We know that this [death] is the path when we face imperialism [America], but we also know that they will not be able to handle us,” Cabello wrote this year in a condolence book to Soleimani, according to Venezuelan state media. “¡Viva Soleimani! ¡Viva Iran! Long live the free peoples!”

A Colombian drug lord, Javier Cardona Ramírez, accused Cabello of selling cocaine to the Islamic State in 2016, referring to him as “Venezuela’s biggest drug trafficker” and comparing him to Mexico’s Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Cabello has denied ties to drug trafficking and sued news organizations for covering his alleged activities. In 2018, a U.S. court ruled against Cabello in a defamation lawsuit against the Wall Street Journal, finding no basis for a defamation suit because no evidence suggested the newspaper’s report on Cabello’s ties to drug trafficking were not true.

Cabello expressed interest in interfering in American politics in remarks last year that have come to be known as the “Bolivarian breeze” speech. In October 2019, Cabello celebrated violent socialist riots throughout Latin America, referring to their destruction as a “Bolivarian breeze.”

“What is happening in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Honduras is just a little breeze, and what is coming is a Bolivarian hurricane,” he said, referring to the Venezuelan socialist ideology. “We are not isolated from the world — on the contrary, Venezuela every day is more consolidated.”

“The Bolivarian breeze will reach the United States and it will have someone who governs for the people,” Cabello said.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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