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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Venezuelan Cabello loses judicial battle vs. The Wall Street Journal

Por MRod

Diosdado Cabello, the powerful figure of the government of Venezuela, has been defeated in the United States courts. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled this Wednesday in favor of the Dow Jones & Company Inc., owner of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which had been sued by the Chavista for defamation after the publishing of a report that revealed his links with drug trafficking and the Cartel de los Soles in 2015.

Cabello, the head of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV, for its Spanish acronym), had already lost his lawsuit against the publishing company for not having "accredited" his presumption of slander in August 2017. But the retired army officer had insisted on blaming the US newspaper for the responsibility of muddying its image by relating it to drug trafficking businesses. That is why he had appealed at the time this decision of the United States justice, using the support of a group of lawyers. Now, the Court of Appeals has confirmed that the Chavista has been disarmed to deny that he is being investigated by the United States for alleged drug trafficking and money laundering. The court found the arguments of Cabello's defense incomprehensible. The ex-military officer had indicated that the sources used in the report entitled: “Venezuelan officials suspected of turning the country into a global cocaine hub”, signed by journalists Juan Forero and José de Córdoba, were "fictitious" with the intention of damaging him.

The journalistic investigation was developed during months, appealing to a dozen sources related to the case and requesting statements from Cabello himself. During its publication, in May 2015, there was a stir. It was not the first time that information was disseminated about the ties of Chavez officials with drug trafficking, but it was a possible investigation by the US justice system about him. Cabello introduced the demand one year after publication. Their allegations focused on the alleged "fabrication of statements" that were attributed to United States officials. Cabello, the former president of the National Assembly, stands out for being angry at the criticism or denunciations. In 2015, the ruling party had sued the newspaper ABC after disclosing an article that also related to drug trafficking.

The accusation had also fallen on the Venezuelan newspapers El Nacional, TalCual and the digital portal La Patilla at that time for replicating the report. Two of the owners of these media, Miguel Henrique Otero of El Nacional and Alberto Federico Ravell of the La Patilla website, decided to leave Venezuela as a result of the threat of imprisonment for this legal action. It is known that in this country the justice system is controlled by the Government. Hence, the Chavismo is not used to losing on the benches. The question remains on what will happen next.