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Latino Daily News

Sunday September 16, 2012

Venezuela, Bolivia Dispute Drug Trafficking Accusations Made by the U.S.

The governments of both Venezuela and Bolivia rejected Saturday the accusations made against them by the White House in its latest memo regarding the war on drugs, and said the U.S. was chiefly responsible for this scourge.

“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.

In a memorandum published Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama said that Bolivia and Venezuela, together with Burma, are countries that “have failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotics agreements.”

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry “rejects in the most decided manner the accusations of the government” of the United States, and said that this document is “plagued with false statements, political preconceptions and veiled threats,” which only repeat its “permanent line of aggression against independent sovereign governments.”

Meanwhile Bolivian President Evo Morales said the U.S. has “no morality, authority or ethics” to speak about the war on drugs because, he said, that’s where the biggest market for cocaine is located and it keeps growing.

“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 speech he gave in the Andean region of Oruro.

“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.

For its part, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry accused Washington of allowing a “fluid transit” of banned substances across its borders, as well as “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 ministry added that Venezuela began to produce results in the war on drugs in 2005 when it cut off relations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA.

It also said that Venezuela has been free of illicit crops since 2006, as acknowledged by the United Nations, and has pursued and deported kingpins of criminal organizations, including 19 that were extradited to the United States over the past six years.

Another criticism Morales made against the United States was the the objections it raised before the United Nations against Bolivia’s request that chewing coca leaf be accepted as “an ancestral, cultural practice.”

“I’m convinced that the drug trade is no less than the United States’ best business,” the Bolivian president said, noting that since 1961, when the first international anti-drug agreements were signed, drug trafficking has grown rather than declined.

He said that in view of reports from the United States, he has suggested to the presidents of South American countries that they form a commission to judge how well Washington is doing in the war on drugs.

The Bolivian administration said Saturday that since 2006, when Morales took power, some 182 tons of cocaine have been seized, while in the previous five years only 49 tons were confiscated.