Skip to main content

Latin America: Walters Continues US Attack on Venezuela Anti-Drug Efforts, Calls Chávez Policies "Global Threat"

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #551)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The US government continued its attack on Venezuelan anti-drug efforts this week, with Office of National Drug Control Policy head John Walters saying that President Hugo Chávez's stance toward the cocaine trade represents a "global threat," especially for Europe. In recent weeks, ahead of looming US government certification of other countries' compliance with US drug policy objectives, US officials have accused Venezuela of being responsible for about one-quarter of the cocaine smuggled out of Latin America.

Venezuela has repeatedly denied that it is shirking on anti-drug efforts. It says that it has cooperative anti-trafficking agreements with other countries, but it refuses to allow the US DEA to operate in its territory and accuses the US of heavy-handedness.

Drug czar Walters wasn't showing a light touch Tuesday in Stockholm, where he addressed an international anti-drug conference. "The problem is not that Chávez needs or doesn't need US help, the problem is that Hugo Chávez is not acting," Walters told the Associated Press during a break in the conference. "He is not only threatening the safety and security of the people of Venezuela," Walters said. "It is a growing global threat; he is putting Europe at risk."

But Venezuela can point to large seizures over the past few years, including some 20 tons of cocaine seized so far this year, according to figures made available by the Venezuelan embassy.

Curiously, Walters did not mention US ally Colombia as a "global threat" because of cocaine production. Venezuela produces no cocaine, but Colombia is the world's largest producer. Similarly, while it is entirely possible that Venezuela, which shares a long and wild border with Colombia, may indeed see a quarter of the Colombian cocaine supply transit its territory, Walters had nothing to say about the other countries in the region responsible for the other three-quarters of Colombia's cocaine traffic.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

amerika wants venezuela oil.......

Fri, 09/12/2008 - 7:10pm Permalink
consfearacy (not verified)


John Walters is a man with no shame to begin with. Cocaine is a "Global Threat " huh? Walters will soon be retired. His voice is irrelevent now.

Sat, 09/13/2008 - 11:47pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This is BS because with this invisible "War on Drugs" the US still allows for these countries to smuggle drugs here. You mean to tell me that a government that can track your location with your cell phone and set up satellites to watch your home and know your every move can't control drugs coming in from their INTERNATIONAL BORDERS- Yeah right people! The bottom line is, drugs help the economy. while drug dealers don't have to pay taxes directly. they pay them indirectly thru all the cars, homes and even the food they buy! The war on drugs is really a war on Americans and a war on citizens of other countries following this ridiculous model!

Tue, 09/16/2008 - 11:33am Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.