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Venezuela: US Criticisms of Venezuelan Drug Policies Hypocritical
Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2009

By Tamara Pearson
July 22nd 2009 Venezuelanalysis.com


The Venezuelan government said the report published on Monday by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), which argues that Venezuela tolerates drug trafficking, is a political tool, and in refutation it cited statistics by the United Nations which show Venezuela to be amongst the highest drug confiscators.

The Venezuelan National Assembly voted to reject the report by GAO, which criticised Venezuela's lack of cooperation with the US over drug trafficking.

Also, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a press statement, said the report and other similar studies conducted by the United States, are "political blackmailing tools that lack scientific objectivity and methodological seriousness, whose aim is to promote the interventionist intentions of Washington towards the rest of the world."

"The implementation of the National Anti-drugs Plan 2009-2013 has... generated the conceptual basis ... for the nationalisation of the merciless struggle against drug trafficking in a country like Venezuela, located between Colombia and the United States, the principle producers and consumers," the press release continued.

The Anti-drugs Plan includes "Planting Values for Life", a community based prevention plan. The National Anti-drug Network has also been set up, where communities choose their anti-drug representatives. 14 state governments and 181 mayoralties have signed agreements towards this.

"The GAO would make better use of its money...concentrating its efforts on dismantling the internal networks of corruption that make [the US] a paradise for drug smugglers and the mafia who get rich from the business of death in the face of the incompetence and indifference of the authorities," the statement concluded.

The minister for justice and internal affairs, Tarek El Aissami, speaking to the National Assembly, said the US discourse was "hypocritical" and stressed that in the United States over 50 million people use non-medicinal drugs and that the country consumes 31% of marihuana and 41% of cocaine produced globally.

El Aissami quoted an article by sociologist James Petras, and explained that the US economic system depends on the drug industry and that it would suffer a greater collapse than the current economic crisis, if drug trafficking no longer existed.

"What double stands for the United States to issue opinions against Venezuela about the anti-drug struggle," El Aissami said.

He said that while the US's level of drug confiscation has decreased since the 1990s, Venezuela has increased its levels of confiscation since 2006, according to a report published by the United Nations on 26 June.

Nestor Reverol, head of the National Anti-drugs Office also told the National Assembly about the UN reports. He said that between 2006-2009, Venezuela has been ranked among the top confiscators of cocaine, and that this year's report recognises the Venezuelan government's implementation of acceptable drug policies.

According to Reverol, the Venezuelan government has confiscated 464 tonnes of drugs over the last decade, including 30 tonnes of drugs and 19 drug laboratories so far this year.

Venezuela cut off anti-drug collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2005, after finding evidence that DEA was spying.



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