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Venezuela Rejects Unfair Portrayal By US in Fight Against Drugs

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Venezuela Says U.S. Majors List is an Inaccurate Portrayal of Venezuela

Venezuela says it has once again been the target of false accusations by the U.S. government in this year's "Presidential Determination for Major Drug Producing and Transit Countries."

The US administration document, also called the "Majors List," was released September 15.

The US claims, despite what Venezuela says is "much evidence to the contrary," that Venezuela is among the world's 22 "major drug producing or drug transit countries."

The US also says Venezuela is one of three nations to have "failed demonstrably" to meet counter-drug obligations in 2010.

US Majors List Motivation

Venezuela says the determinations made in the "Majors List" are politically motivated, used to exert pressure on countries through financial sanctions, or to exert pressure on the country by funding opposition groups.

Because the US did not place sanctions on Venezuela in the 2010 report, that allows the US to fund Venezuelan opposition groups or organizations.

"Most disturbingly,Venezuela's inclusion on the list is a blatant attempt to discredit its serious and documented commitment to stopping the global flow of drugs from the countries of the South to consumers in the North."
- Embassy of The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

world drug report
World Drug Report Infographic
Charts clipped from UNODC
In 2005, U.S. DEA agents were expelled from Venezuela, after it was claimed the agents were involved in espionage and had links to drug trafficking rings. After that, the Bush Administration said Venezuela "failed demonstrably to meet obligations."

UN Report Contradicts US Assertion

Despite U.S claims that Venezuela is not cooperating in the fight against drug trafficking, Venezuela says the evidence clearly demonstrates the opposite.

Each year, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime produces an annual report. In the past six years, the United Nations said no cultivation of coca or poppy took place in Venezuela, contradicting the US allegations. See "World Drug Report 2011, UNDOC (PDF).

Venezuela does something the US does not do seriously, border protection. Venezuela stepped up patrols along the Colombian border and acquired Chinese-built radar for border stations to intercept planes. They also set up special incinerators to dispose of seized drugs.

Venezuelan Drug Seizures

Venezuela achieved a 16 percent increase in illegal drug seizures between 2008 and 2010. According to their National Anti-Drug Office (ONA), 63 tons of drugs were seized in 2010 - 46 percent more than in 2004, the last year of cooperation between Venezuela and the DEA.

Since Hugo Chávez took office in 1999, up to the end of 2010, the Venezuelan government says it has seized 584 tons of drugs. Last year alone, they made 13,132 drug-related arrests.

Venezuela has a zero tolerance policy toward drug trafficking, capturing 17 drug kingpins wanted by Interpol, and deporting them to the U.S., Colombia, and the Netherlands.

Venezuelan 2011 Anti-Drug Action

In the first six months of the year, Venezuelan officials say they seized multiple tons of illegal drugs, destroyed 17 drug-processing laboratories near Colombia, and made more than 9,000 drug-related arrests.

In the course of their work, they seized planes, vehicles, chemicals and arms from drug traffickers

International Anti-Drug Cooperation

Venezuela says it adheres to 52 different international anti-drug cooperation agreements, and participates in the Organization of American States' Inter-American Commission for the Control of Drug Abuse. Venezuela also ratified the three main anti-drug conventions under the Inter-American system, and seven of eight UN anti-drug conventions.

Early in 2010, Venezuela introduced a new Drug Law. That law created a National Anti-Drug Fund to finance drug prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social integration programs.

In June 2009, Hugo Chavez signed off on the 2009-2013 National Anti-Drug Plan, which proposed holding hundreds of educational workshops and training five million Venezuelans as prevention advisors.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro rejected US allegations that Venezuela failed to fight drug trafficking, pointing to Venezuela's significant domestic counter-drug efforts.

Maduro says Venezuela has taken a leadership role in the region, urging fellow members of the Union of South American Nations to create an autonomous policy to stop the scourge of drugs.

US imperialism is at the heart of the use of the "Majors List" against Venezuela, according to Maduro. Maduro says the U.S. uses the drug issue to intervene and impose political and economic measures on countries whose governments exercise sovereignty and independence from US imperialism.

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