United States sanctions against the corrupt regime of Nicolás Maduro have begun to bear fruit, following the confiscation of roughly USD $800 million in assets belonging to Venezuelan strongman Diosdado Cabello. Widely regarded to be the second most powerful player in Venezuela, Cabello has longstanding links to drug trafficking. The recent event also culminated in the deportation of Cabello’s daughter, Daniela Cabello.
Cabello has often been described as “the octopus” because his tentacles extend to virtually every political and economic facet of the nation. He has served in a wide range of positions, including as vice president, governor of Miranda state, and Speaker of the National Assembly, until the opposition won sweeping elections giving it a large majority in the chamber.
According to the American newspaper El Nuevo Herald, the Trump administration was able to freeze and/or confiscate the astonishing sum from the personal fortune of the perennial Venezuelan politician.
Miami-based journalist Óscar Haza revealed on his radio program that “key sources” from the United States pointed out that Daniela Cabello was deported as she tried to arrive on American soil.
“The money which has been seized from Diosdado Cabello, amounting to $800 million dollars, would be sufficient to pay for two months of payments to service the external debt of Venezuela,” announced Haza on his radio program.
According to the reporter, among the assets seized are twelve properties in the United States, including a luxurious apartment located across from New York’s famous Central Park.
“They have scored a direct hit in the engine room of the ship here; this represents a real blow to his economic power, which is of course a product of drug trafficking and self-dealing corrupt business deals that have been carried out for his own benefit,” said Haza.
The sweeping sanctions applied against Cabello form only a part of the efforts of the US authorities to identify and freeze the ill-gotten assets of high-ranking officials in the Maduro regime linked to corruption, drug trafficking, and the violation of human rights.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) not only sanctioned Cabello and his family, but also a businessman closely linked to him. The measure involved the freezing of assets, and the prohibition of entry visas to United States territory.
“In addition to money laundering and illegal mining, Cabello is also directly involved in drug trafficking activities,” said the US Treasury Department in a statement including the Chavista leader on their blacklist.
In addition to Cabello, his wife Marleny Contreras, current Minister of Tourism, and his brother José David Cabello Rondon, who serves as superintendent for the National Integrated Customs and Tax Administration Service (Seniat), were also sanctioned. The fourth sanctioned individual was Rafael Sarría Díaz, a Venezuelan businessman.
On January 22 Cabello was also sanctioned by the European Union along with seven other officials of the Venezuelan government.
Cabello has alleged that “there is no evidence” to claim that he owns properties around the world.
In further troubling news for the Cabello family, the office of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor of Spain has also initiated an investigation into relatives of Diosdado Cabello who are suspected to have been involved with the Odebrecht case, which has toppled governments throughout Latin America.
According to the newspaper ABC in Spain, there is evidence that relatives of Cabello have received millions of dollars in illicit payments from the corrupt Brazilian construction giant.