Thirteen UN employees who were expelled from Venezuela by Nicolás
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Pedro Rances Mattey/AFP

The Venezuelan government has expelled German public news outlet Deutsche Welle, the country's Minister of Communication and Information said on Monday.

Concretely, Freddy Ñañez said that the outlet had been accused of "spreading hate propaganda" against the country and therefore it will be banned from all cable networks.

Spanish outlet El País linked the decision with the publication of a recent report by DW, which discussed a Transparency International ranking that placed Venezuela as the second most corrupt country in the world.

The video starts by declaring Venezuela a "mafioso state," where high-ranking politicians are part of the Cartel de los Soles, "a criminal network mainly comprised of military members." "They traffic cocaine, illegally mined gold and they blackmail. Those involved have made a lot of money."

"And you know what it's like. If the army is happy, (President) Nicolas Maduro is happy. This relationship between the state and organized crime turned the country into the second most corrupt in the world, according to Transparency International. It's unclear whether Maduro plays an active role but we do know that the judiciary is not independent and answers to the government. That is why it's not surprising how permissive they are," adds the presenter, Ernesto Fuenmayor.

The video ends by saying all information comes from investigative outlet InSight Crime and with a call to learn more about the "Venezuelan state mafia" in a DW YouTube channel called "Cómo te afecta" (How this affects you).

Despite the use of combative rhetoric, the video places the assertions on other institutions, rather than the journalist making them himself. Transparency International's 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranked Venezuela second-to-last in this list, remaining the most corrupt country in Latin America.

The payment of bribes and the co-optation of judges and prosecutors at all levels of the justice system are just some of the major threats to democracy and the main propellers of corruption in the country, the organization said.

As for the claims regarding the Cartel de los Soles, InSight Crime has published different investigations saying the term is used to "describe opaque groups within Venezuela's military, including the contraband of gasoline, illegal mining and other corruption schemes, drug trafficking among them."

The government acted swiftly against the outlet, with Maduro saying the outlet was "nazi." "They and other international outlets are conducting a campaign against Venezuela, they want to make it seem like everything that is bad in the world is here. They seek to smear me, to attack the country. We must stay alert," Maduro said.

Other outlets like CNN en español and Colombia's RCN and Caracol Radio have also been expelled from the country in past years, Spain's El País recalled.

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