By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) - Venezuela dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump's narco-trafficking claims that accuse it of using drugs as a weapon against citizens.
"Venezuela rejects the infamies professed by Trump's security cabinet against the Bolivarian Government," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Twitter late Wednesday.
She accused Trump and his security team of "diverting attention away from the tragic humanitarian crisis that country is experiencing as a consequence of the erratic handling by its authorities of COVID-19 while pretending to attack Venezuela with infamies and threats."
"However, despite the aggressions and lies displayed against Venezuelan officials, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela salutes that for the first time in decades, the authorities of the United States are willing to take action to safeguard their borders, historically permeable, neglected, and vulnerable to the thousands of tons of drugs that annually enter that country, originating in the drug trafficking industry that has developed in the territory of its ally and close partner, Colombia," Arreaza added.
He emphasized Venezuela’s anti-narcotic institutions are ready to lend necessary cooperation and coordination aimed at containing the advance of drug trafficking groups and organized crime in the region.
Arreaza's remarks came hours after President Trump announced U.S. Navy ships are being sent to the Caribbean to curb drug trafficking, a week after Washington charged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of "narco-terrorism."
"We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives," Trump said.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said last week that Maduro and his high-ranking officials have allegedly "conspired with the FARC, causing tons of cocaine to enter and devastate American communities" for over 20 years.
He was referring to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia that fought an armed struggle against its government for 50 years before reaching a peace deal in 2016.
The U.S. offered a $15 million reward for information that leads to the arrest of Maduro, $10 million each for three other Maduro associates and up to $5 million for information about FARC leader Marin Arango.
The U.S. decision to deploy ships also came days after State Secretary Mike Pompeo proposed a framework for a transitional government in Venezuela composed of elected members from both sides, Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, of the National Assembly until fresh elections.
The proposal was rejected by the Maduro government.
Venezuela has been under firm U.S. economic and diplomatic sanctions for more than a year as Washington recognizes Guaido as the country's legitimate ruler instead of elected President Nicolas Maduro.