Venezuela's armed forces chief, Admiral Remigio Ceballos, on Friday slammed the “extravagant and extremist accusations” by the Trump administration against President Nicolas Maduro and several other top Venezuelan officials.
Ceballos confirmed the army’s support for the president in a statement read out on Venezuelan state television on Friday, saying that the military over which he presides “categorically” rejects the charges, according to AFP.
The admiral reportedly said that US President Donald Trump “will go down in history as the most harmful and most irrational of American presidents,” arguing that the Trump administration’s move is primarily aimed at diverting attention away from the president's all-important re-election campaign.
On Thursday, US Attorney General William Barr said the US would press criminal charges against Maduro for allegedly facilitating drug trafficking into the United States. US authorities offered a series of rewards for information on and delivery of five top officials in the Venezuelan government, including $15 million for the arrest of Maduro himself.
In addition to Maduro, the other indicted officials include National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello Rondon, former director of Venezuela’s military intelligence Gen. Hugo Carvajal Barrios, former Venezuelan Army General Cliver Alcala Cordones, as well as Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) members Luciano Marin Arango and Seuxis Hernandez Solarte.
Later on the same day, Maduro refuted the US accusations of links to drug trafficking, declaring that “Venezuela has been at the forefront of the fight against illegal drug trafficking for 15 years”.