President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Washington, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, listens. (Photo: AP)
Washington (People’s Daily) – US President Donald Trump used Wednesday’s scheduled coronavirus briefing to announce “enhanced counter-narcotics operations” in the Western hemisphere amid the coronavirus outbreak.
This is another step in US sanctions against Venezuela.
According to a report by AP, Trump announced “enhanced counter-narcotics operations” in the Western hemisphere with forces operating both in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific.
The operation, involving thousands of members of the military, began Wednesday, officials said.
“As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus, there’s a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain,” Trump said. “We must not let that happen.”
It was prompted by intelligence indicating drug cartels “were going to try to take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate additional drugs into our country,” said Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“We are at war with COVID-19, we are at war with terrorists, and we are at war with the drug cartels,” Milley said. “You will not penetrate this country.”
According to Reuters, the Trump administration is deploying US Navy ships closer to Venezuela to beef up anti-drug efforts following a US drug trafficking indictment against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, according to a US official and two other people familiar with the matter.
It follows the indictment last week of Maduro and more than a dozen current and former officials on charges of narco-terrorism and drug trafficking, part of the Trump administration’s pressure campaign aimed at Venezuela.