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Bolivia, Venezuela Reject US Drug Criticism

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #751)

Last Thursday, the White House released its annual determination of major drug trafficking or producing countries, the "majors," singling out Bolivia, Burma, and Venezuela as countries that have failed to comply with US drug policy demands. That has sparked sharp and pointed reactions from Bolivia and Venezuela.

Evo Morales (
"I hereby designate Bolivia, Burma, and Venezuela as countries that have failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to make substantial efforts to adhere to their obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements," President Obama said in the determination.

That marks the fourth year in a row the US has singled out Bolivia and Venezuela, which are left-leaning regional allies highly critical of US influence in Latin America. But while the US has once again put the two countries on its drug policy black list, it is not blocking foreign assistance to them because "support for programs to aid Bolivia and Venezuela are vital to the national interests of the United States."

Despite that caveat, Bolivia and Venezuela were having none of it.

"Venezuela deplores the United States government's insistence on undermining bilateral relations by publishing this kind of document, with no respect for the sovereignty and dignity of the Venezuelan people," the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a communique last Friday.

Venezuela "rejects in the most decided manner the accusations of the government of the United States," the communique said, adding that the presidential determination is "plagued with false statements, political preconceptions and veiled threats," which only repeat its "permanent line of aggression against independent sovereign governments."

Venezuela also counter-punched, accusing the US of allowing "a fluid transit" of drugs across its borders" and "the laundering of capital from drug trafficking through the financial system."

"The government of the United States has become principally responsible for this plague that is the scourge of the entire world," it said.

The foreign ministry added that Venezuela's anti-drug efforts improved after it kicked out the DEA in 2005, that it has been free of illegal drug crops since 2006, and that it has actively pursued leading drug traffickers, including 19 it had extradited to the US since 2006.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, for his part, said the US, home of the world's largest drug consumer market, had no grounds on which to criticize other countries about its war on drugs.

"The United States has no morality, authority or ethics that would allow it to speak about the war on drugs. Do you know why? Because the biggest market for cocaine and other drugs is the United States," Morales said in a Saturday speech. "They should tell us by what percentage they have reduced the internal (drug) market. The internal market keeps growing and in some states of the United States they're even legalizing the sale of cocaine under medical control," the Bolivian president said.

It's unclear what Morales was trying to say with that latter remark. Although as a Schedule II drug, cocaine can be and occasionally is used medically in the United States, there are no current moves by any US state to take that further. Some 17 US states and the District of Columbia have, however, moved to legalize the distribution of marijuana under medical control.

"I'm convinced that the drug trade is no less than the United States' best business," Morales added, noting that since the first international drug control treaties were signed in 1961, drug trafficking has blossomed, not declined. He said he has suggested to South American leaders that they form a commission to report on how well Washington is doing in its war on drugs.

Morales also took the occasion to lambaste the US for opposing Bolivia's request before the United Nations to modify that 1961 treaty to acknowledge that chewing coca leaf is "an ancestral cultural practice" in the Andes.

Like Venezuela, Bolivia protested that it, too, has been fighting drug trafficking. The Bolivian government said that it had seized 182 tons of cocaine since Morales took power in 2006, compared to only 49 tons confiscated in the previous five years. Bolivia has seized 31 tons of cocaine so far this year, most of it from Peru, the government said.

The US presidential determination named the following countries as major illicit drug producing or trafficking countries: Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

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.


Paul Pot (not verified)

When US states legalize marijuana in November, South American nations should immediately follow suit and legalize drugs.

War is Over!


Tue, 09/18/2012 - 5:51am Permalink
GoGreen (not verified)

In reply to by Paul Pot (not verified)

Come on America, vote! Legalize it! The rest of the world is also suffering from the unjust war on drugs.

Take this young kid who is being sentenced to death for marijuana for example:

End the war! 2012 is the year!

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 1:57pm Permalink
Jillian (not verified)

Policies that work should be expanded, policies that do NOT work should NOT! The Drug War has NOT worked in the U.S. and should ABOLISHED, NOT expanded to other countries!!


Before Iraq
Before Vietnam
Before WW2,
They started the Drug War.

It STILL doesn't work!

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 1:46pm Permalink
God Zleaf (not verified)

Didn't our President here in the US enjoy using a little blow just a few years back?

Time to end this crazy so called "drug war" being waged against the people of the world.



Mon, 09/24/2012 - 7:21pm Permalink
RCH (not verified)

So many people in power say drugs destroy lives yet alcohol is legal as well as tobacco which have both killed far more people than any illegal drug. No idea why most governments around the world can`t understand plain common sense. Legalising drugs would remove the criminal element as well as lower the price and hence far less crime would be commited since far less money would be needed to purchase the drugs in the first place.Making something legal doesn`t mean everyone is going to rush out and become addicted, has that happened with alcohol? NO! Sure there will always be some people who get addicted whether its legal or not but that is there choice and not the governments! Cannabis isn`t even dangerous and will only cause problems to the most weak minded of people or people that abuse it heavily. Its the war on drugs that has pushed up the price of drugs and ruined far more lives than any drug has! Removing the war on drugs would mean far less crime because drug prices are now the price of a cup of tea which is what they should be. The more I think about it I think the US government wants the war in drugs to stay in place to keep prices high so they earn more from it as thats the only reasonable reason they would want to keep this crazy war going! All goes back to money and the people in power who are greedy and want more and more. The rich gets richer and the poor get poorer,end up in prison or suffer in many ways. The countries that murder people for drug trafficking are the worst of the worst.  They call drug traffickers mass murderers because of all the drugs they bring in? Thats like saying all the companies that produce tobacco and alcohol which are both legal are mass murderers as well!! Everything to do with the war on drugs is wrong,twisted,corrupt and is the real evil. God put drugs on earth for a way for people to enjoy life without huge ammounts of money.  Governments all around the world are stopping people enjoying themselves unless they are super rich... Why??? The super rich get there fixes from fast cars, luxury housing. They have the world as there oyster! The poor are far less fortunate but drugs give them a similar high but the war on drugs is putting them in prison or murdering them for it.

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 3:08am Permalink

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