Diosdado Cabello

Ariana Cubillos AP

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - The U.S. Treasury slapped sanctions on one of Venezuela’s most powerful men Friday — Diosdado Cabello, along with his family and economic adviser — accusing him of drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal mining.

The sanctions come as Washington is turning up the heat on the South American nation just days before presidential elections.

Also named in Friday’s report are Cabello’s brother, Jose David Cabello, the head of the tax department, and Cabello’s wife, Marleny Josefina Contreras.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

It’s hard to believe that guards at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas still let Venezuela’s breathtakingly clueless President Nicolás Maduro through the gate each morning.

Because history will remember Maduro – the laughable lefty who was fodder for a John Oliver monologue this week – for transforming the western hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation into the Caribbean Korea.

Meaning, North Korea.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Back in January, a Venezuelan security chief arrived in Washington, D.C. But he hadn’t come to rant at U.S. officials. He was there to sing to them. He had details about the allegedly epic ties between his country’s ruling socialist revolution and South American drug traffickers.

Flickr

Caracas suffered another big power outage on Tuesday. The blackout shut down a hospital and a metro line and left large swaths of the Venezuelan capital without juice for much of the day.

One official response could be an upgrade of oil-rich Venezuela’s antiquated power grid. Another might be more spurious arrests of opposition politicians.

I’m betting on the latter.

That’s because the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro seems much more skilled at finding scapegoats than at fixing problems.