Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“Socialism, this is the path to save the planet, I don’t have the least doubt. Capitalism is the road to hell,” Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez told the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference.
Rhetoric like that won the socialist dictator the admiration of socialists from Barack Obama to Noam Chomsky. But the dirty little secret of the socialist revolution in Venezuela was that it was a front for a massive drug smuggling operation. Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, gutted Venezuela’s rich oil resources and turned the country into a socialist drug cartel.
“Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of vice president Maduro,” Sean Penn promised. The population has fled or is starving, but the revolution endures.
In 2020, Maduro and top officials of his regime were indicted in the United States as leaders of the Cartel de los Soles for conspiring with FARC to smuggle tons of cocaine to the United States. Venezuela’s biggest asset was its border with Colombia. Cuba, which had backed FARC and other narcoterrorists in Colombia, scored a big win with the socialist takeover in Venezuela.
FARC, a Marxist-Leninist narcoterrorist group, coordinated with Venezuela’s government to smuggle drugs to Cuba and from there to the United States. Every day planes take off from Venezuela delivering hundreds of tons of Colombian cocaine each year meant for America.
Hugo Chavez once claimed that capitalism destroyed Mars. There’s no word on that, but his brand of socialism certainly destroyed Venezuela taking it from prosperity to starvation.
And it’s destroying the rest of the region.
Marxists smuggling cocaine aren’t exactly showcasing an ideal alternative socialist economic system to free enterprise. The Colombian-Venezuelan drug route is being threatened, not by Colombia which was pressured by Obama into giving in to FARC, but by two groups of Marxist-Leninist coke fiends who are fighting it out over the drug trade like filthy capitalists.
The National Liberation Army (ELN), a Marxist-Leninist terror group set up by the Cubans, has been fighting a FARC splinter group known as the 10th Front or the Eastern Bloc. Both leftist terror groups are Marxist-Leninist in orientation, although ELN has a lot more liberation theology in the mix, and both make their money from drugs and the occasional kidnapping.
ELN and the 10th Front aren’t fighting over ideological differences, but over drugs and money.
A fawning article in Jacobin magazine describes ELN as a “group of students” who were “inspired by the Cuban Revolution, Che Guevara, and Liberation Theology”. The four page article never mentions cocaine even though that’s what ELN actually does. Last year, Colombia seized $300 million in cocaine from the Marxist-Leninist narcoterrorist organization.
Che would be proud.
After FARC’s implosion as a viable force, Venezuela’s government formed a drug smuggling alliance with ELN. That drew it into a conflict with the 10th Front which is now conducting a guerrilla war against Venezuela. After a long alliance, FARC and Venezuela are fighting each other with the most fearsome Marxist guerrilla force in the region fighting the leading Socialist regime. The same forces that had terrorized Colombia for so long have turned on each other.
Venezuelan soldiers are dying in border clashes, and invading Colombia to terrorize local villagers in the hopes of shutting down the ELN’s Marxist drug rivals. They’re getting blown up, ambushed, and shot up when they’re not being hit with human rights violations complaints.
It’s socialism at its finest.
The 10th Front is allied with Brazil’s Red Command which was born as a prison pact between Communists and criminals under the slogan, “Peace, Justice and Freedom”. Red Command is involved in Brazil’s drug trafficking at every level from slum dealing to club parties for the children of the elite. The Red Command helps the 10th Front remain in the field even though Cuba is on the side of Venezuela and the ELN narcoterrorists that it had originally set up.
Neither side is even bothering to pretend that this is about any kind of ideological differences.
What’s at stake here is a simple matter of market economics. Americans spend about $25 billion on coke every year. Moving drugs through Central America to the Caribbean provides a piece of not only the American, but the European cocaine market. The rival Marxist drug smugglers are competing to be the exclusive suppliers of Colombian cocaine to that huge market.
Think of it as the cola wars, but with actual cocaine. The glorious Marxist revolution is down to two groups of Marxist-Leninists killing each other to make a killing on cocaine in California.
It’s like Coke vs. Pepsi if both companies were run by Marxist druglord terrorists.
When Obama pushed Colombia to cut a peace deal with FARC and then cut off the flow of Cuban refugees, he also helped restart the flow of cocaine to America from Cuba. The subsequent collapse of Venezuela’s economy and its oil industry has left it few options. Smuggling cocaine takes a lot less skill than refining crude or running a country. And Venezuela’s military makes it the best armed drug cartel in the hemisphere, if not the planet.
Which other drug cartel in the region has its own attack helicopters to deploy in the field?
But Venezuelan soldiers are paid with food and worthless scrip. FARC and ELN recruits are often local peasants who are kidnapped and drafted into the fight. The real money goes to the elites on both sides of a drug war that is now a cocaine civil war between narcosocialists.
Karl Marx claimed that capitalism was destined to destroy itself. Instead, Marxist regimes and movements hold the world record for self-destruction. South of the border the Marxists who once won the hearts of the American Left have become drug dealers shooting it out in the jungle over who gets a cut of the cocaine that ends up in the noses of their Yankee comrades.
Marx had metaphorically called religion the opiate of the masses. Marxism has become the actual cocaine of the masses. Just ask the Marxist-Leninists kidnapping, torturing and killing each other to socialize the cocaine market.