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Bolivia, Venezuela Reject US Drug Criticism

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drug war bolivia venezuelaBy Phillip Smith

Last Friday, the White House released its annual score card on other countries’ compliance with US drug policy demands, the presidential determination on major drug producing and trafficking countries. It identified 22 countries as “major drug transit and/or major illicit drug producing countries,” but listed only three — Bolivia, Burma, and Venezuela — as having “failed demonstrably” to comply with US drug war objectives.

Among those countries that are not listed as having “failed demonstrably” are the world’s largest opium producer (Afghanistan), the world’s two largest coca and cocaine producers (Colombia and Peru), the leading springboard for drugs coming into the US (Mexico), and the weak Central American states that serve as lesser springboards for drug loads destined for the US. They are all US allies; Bolivia and Venezuela are not.

Both the Bolivians and the Venezuelans responded angrily to the determination.

“We strongly reject the accusation… The United States is trying to ignore our government’s sovereign policies,” Alejandro Keleris, the head of Venezuela’s national anti-drug office, said late on Saturday in response to the US report.

Keleris said Venezuela had arrested more than 6,400 people for drug trafficking so far this year and seized almost 80,000 pounds of various drugs. Venezuela had arrested over a hundred drug gang bosses since 2006 and extradited at least 75 of them, including some to the US, he said.

Drug enforcement ties between Washington and Caracas have been strained since at least 2005, when then President Hugo Chavez threw the DEA out of the country, accusing it of intervening in internal Venezuelan affairs. Venezuela is not a drug producing nation, but has been a transit country for cocaine produced in Colombia.

Bolivia’s denunciation of the presidential determination was even stronger.

“The Bolivian government does not recognize the authority of the US government to certify or decertify the war on drugs,” Vice Minister of Social Defense and Controlled Substances Felipe Caceres said Saturday. “The only internationally accredited body is the UN, whose report was recently met.”

The UN report that Caceres referenced was last month’s Bolivian Coca Monitoring Survey, which found that the government of President Evo Morales had successfully reduced the number of acres under coca cultivation for the second year in a row.

“President Obama makes that statement even though only two months ago the Office of National Drug Control Policy of the White House verified that the total cocaine production in Bolivia has fallen by 18% since 2011,” the Bolivian government said last Friday. “The United States seeks to undermine that the government of President Evo Morales has achieved these things with dignity, sovereignty and social control without any type of interference from abroad.”

Like Venezuela, Bolivia has thrown out the DEA, which has been absent from the country for five years now. In May, Bolivia announced it had expelled a USAID official, and in June, the US embassy announced it was ending anti-drug efforts with the Bolivians.

Article From StoptheDrugWar.org - Creative Commons Licensing - Donate

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8 Comments

  1. Daniel Stuart Hoffman on

    It’s why some countries do that. There are some Southeastern Asian ones who have taken the initiative to go above and beyond all on their own.

  2. If you truly cared about the children, you wouldn’t be attacking people for wanting to end the useless war on drugs. Drug dealers don’t require kids to show ID. Drug dealers don’t protect children from child labor, they recruit and employ them. The “what about the children” argument is a refuge for fascists and tyrants. Don’t think because you are a holier than thou drug warrior, that makes you noble. Even the criminal gangs and cartels support the war on drugs because there are big profits to be made. Those are your allies.

  3. BULLSHIT, DEA is long ago out of Bolivia and Drug Cartels have total control of the country, where you get that crap from Matt?

  4. This is why countries adopt harsh drug laws, because the US and UN pressure them to.

    That’s also why people need to focus on ending prohibition in the US, as it is responsible for maintaining prohibition.

  5. “Drug enforcement ties between Washington and Caracas have been strained
    since at least 2005, when then President Hugo Chavez threw the DEA out
    of the country, accusing it of intervening in internal Venezuelan
    affairs.” Along with Moldy here, we need to do the same. The DEA is garbage.

  6. More countries need to throw the DEA out on it’s ass. The only reason drugs are cheaper and more available is due to the prohibition of those drugs. Legalize and make available for small denominations or for free the addictive dangerous ones. Provide heath centers where they give addicts their doses and help them reduce the harms in a generally good setting. Give them a chance to clean up or not but protect their health so they can enter the job market and become wage earners. Sure, there will be failures along the way but it beats what we have now where most addicts are destine to fail by the way the laws are set up.