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Bolivia, Venezuela Reject US Drug Criticism

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #801)
Drug War Issues

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.

Cocaine has Washington's nose out of joint when it comes to Bolivia and Venezuela. (
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.

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.


mexweeds (not verified)

The third rail issue which no politician will touch: would legalizing cannabis, and  moderate, parentally regulated access to cannabis by minors, PREVENT recruitment of megathousands into cocaine or heroin addiction, or (uh oh) into $igarette addiction and alcohol binging?  Would they rather attack each other over who's refusing to cooperate or whatever, burn up the air time without letting the cannabis versus drugs issue surface?

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 8:05pm Permalink
ThinkFirst (not verified)

In reply to by mexweeds (not verified)

Cannabis vs Drugs? This is nonsense Cannabis Elitism. People should be able to use any plant they wish who is to say cannabis is any better? It seems you forget that cannabis impairs working memory and tobacco improves it. There are benefits and drawbacks to all drug containing plants but this cannabis fanboy bs really makes me sick. It completely misses the point. This is about national sovereignty and freedom. Cannabis isn't the miracle you push look at both sides of the coin, there are other plants with other benefits. Both they and cannabis can be utilized for good or bad...
Wed, 01/01/2014 - 10:33pm Permalink
Thinkfirst (not verified)

In reply to by mexweeds (not verified)

Cannabis versus Drugs? This is cannabis elitism nonsense. Did you forget that cannabis impairs working memory and tobacco improves it? This is scientific fact. All of the drug containing plants have positives and negatives. Your post completely misses the point. This is about national sovereignty and freedom not pushing one plant at the expense of others and the freedoms that accompany that. Please open your mind and see beyond this one sided view. Cannabis is not perfect but it has it's place. So do the other sacred plants.
Wed, 01/01/2014 - 10:43pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

When can we throw the DEA out of the US as well? ;)

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 8:40pm Permalink
Xray 2 (not verified)

 It is time for the United States to end to ridiculous war on drugs. Marijuana should not be considered a crime , period .

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 11:11pm Permalink
jway (not verified)

How many decades must the drug war fail before our government concedes that it's a total waste of taxpayer money? We should not be shackled ill-conceived old policies that destroy the lives of millions of people without providing a shred of benefit back to this country.

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 9:55pm Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

Putting aside the simple fact that the only countries that made the list were not allied with the US,nothing ever changes.The fact that the 10X increase in opium production in Afghanistan,and that Afghan heroin is everywhere seems to have gone right over their heads.In Vancouver there were two overdoses,one of a 15 year old,on Afghan heroin last weekend.I just might get back into it myself if it continues.The US cares less about who ships the drugs and more about who takes their cash to allow their agents to bust the "right"people.As long as their DEA can have an office and cooperation,they don't care much what actually goes on.They just want the right "message"to get out.I guess the 72000 deaths in Mexico are seen as a positive?They were certainly thrilled with the slaughter in Colombia.

Thu, 09/19/2013 - 9:22am Permalink
drmaddogs (not verified)

50 billion in drug war dollars.

It creates the winners and losers. Funneled by the ONDCP for everything from Presidential Election Campaign Management to HHS, FTC, NIH, DoJ.... and many other jobs, even to Tv advertising. A vast enterprise system depends on Mj exclusion and if people did not want Mj, that system would disappear. If was legalized in its entirety, the system would disappear.

Your tax dollars being mal-vested for creating winners and losers.

Fri, 09/20/2013 - 9:18am Permalink

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