Chavez demands US 'drug apology'

By Lunar Loops · Dec 21, 2006 · ·
  1. Lunar Loops
    This from the BBC News website ( :

    Chavez demands US 'drug apology'

    _42375779_chavez_ap203b.jpg Mr Chavez said the claims were "a lack of respect for the truth"

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on the US ambassador in Caracas to retract his assertion that drug trafficking in the country is rising.
    Mr Chavez said the comments were absolutely false and that a retraction would demonstrate that Washington is serious about wanting good relations.
    William Brownfield said poor police collaboration was making Venezuela a preferred drug route to the Caribbean.
    The comments follow recent improvements in relations between the two countries.
    Mr Chavez said the US ambassador's claims were "a lack of respect for the truth" and said they were "absolutely false".
    The president blamed US drug consumption for the problem and accused the US of turning from communism to the drug war to justify its military presence in the region.
    Police 'vacuum'
    In comments published on Tuesday by the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, Mr Brownfield said the estimated amount of cocaine smuggled through Venezuela had increased to about 300 metric tons in 2006.

    "The drug traffickers have identified a vacuum because there is less police collaboration than in any other country... they take advantage of Venezuela to move their product toward the Caribbean," he said.
    However, Mr Brownfield said the two countries could make progress in the areas of trade, energy and anti-drug efforts despite deep political differences.
    He said Washington could use its improved relations with both China and Vietnam as a blueprint for relations with Venezuela.
    Diplomatic ties have shown signs of improvement since Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was re-elected by a landslide earlier this month.
    Bilateral trade has continued to grow in recent years, despite worsening relations during the same period and is expected to hit a record $50bn (£25bn) in 2006.
    Last week, the two countries said they had made a positive start to improving relations after a lengthy meeting between Mr Brownfield and Venezuela's foreign minister.
    Relations had worsened since claims of US involvement in a coup attempt against Mr Chavez in 2002. The White House has often accused Mr Chavez of harming regional stability. In September, Mr Chavez referred to US President George Bush as "the devil" during a speech before the UN General Assembly in New York.

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  1. enquirewithin
    These are not 'claims' but the truth. This is typical BBC news, where the UK's 'friends' (the US and client states) are quoted as the truth. There is plenty of eveidence to substantiate Chavez's claim, but none, as far as I can tell to support the US ambassador's claims. I can't find it right now, but another US report actually stated that the drug trade in Venezuala has not increased recently.
  2. Nagognog2
    The US side of the story here regards Chavez are the same crew that were claiming the Sandanista government (Socialists) in Nicaragua back in the 1980's were all drug smugglers. As was Fidel Castro. And the Reagan regime was spending billions to fund a private army (The Contras) to murder civilians in the countryside in acts of terrorism (Reagan called these murderers "The moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers"). Then public outcry in the USA stopped the funding of these butchers through the Congress and Senate. Then...

    A plane flown by a CIA operative named Hassenfuss, an American, developed engine trouble on a flight over Nicaragua and crash-landed. The Nica government grabbed the plane and held Hassenfuss for espionage. And guess what they found on the plane? Bales of cocaine! And the plane was bound for Miami, FLA. Seems the Reagan regime needed a bit of money to illegally fund their killers in the countryside of Nicaragua. So why not sell some cocaine in the streets of America! Blame it on the Congress and Seneate for pulling the financial plug of Reagan's terrorist army - that did things our Founding Fathers would be proud of - like murder an entire wedding party on a bus leaving a church just to strike terror in the people.

    So here we see the same game again with Chavez the Socialist. Accusations of drugs to discredit him and his people. The Nica's gave Hassenfuss back to the US government. He was more embarrassing to Washington than valuble as a prisoner held for espionage. But I can't help but wonder if he's not buzzing over Caracas with a load of blow on his way to Miami...
  3. Woodman
    Actually, drug profits DO fund communist guerrilla rebel groups in S. America, but that could be remedied overnight by simply decriminalizing recreational drug use in the US and legitimizing coca production in S. America.

    It would take the profits away from the communists and put it to legitimate economic use. Chavez may have a good point!
  4. darawk

    Yes, this is a very very important point that we all need to start stressing to the 'unconverted' when talking about drugs. Drug use does not fund terrorism, drug prohibition does.
  5. enquirewithin
    Latin America: US Accuses Venezuela of "Colluding" with Cocaine Trade

    As everyone knows, John Walters's is a liar. But, working for an administration especially known for it's mendacity, perhaps that makes him perfect for the job. This hypocrisy and deceit is especially notable since the US government funds Uribe's government in Colombia, which has known ties to militias funded by the cocaine trade. Colombia, as everyone knows is the main producer of cocaine. Venezuela's 'crime' is not allowing US interference.

    Latin America: US Accuses Venezuela of "Colluding" with Cocaine Trade

    Drug control policy was the arena where the often acrimonious relations between the US and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez played out this week, with Washington accusing Venezuela of colluding with cocaine traffickers, and Caracas vehemently denying that was the case. Chavez, meanwhile, this week added to the mix by announcing that he chewed coca every day.
    The controversy got rolling Sunday in Bogota, when, after finishing a meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, American drug czar John Walters came out swinging at Venezuela. Chavez, he said, had failed to get rid of corrupt officials or deny traffickers the use of Venezuelan territory.
    "It goes beyond 'I can't do it' to 'I won't do it'. And 'I won't do it' means that 'I am colluding,'" Walters said in remarks reported by the BBC. "I think it is about time to face up to the fact that President Chavez is becoming a major facilitator of the transit of cocaine to Europe and other parts of this hemisphere."
    Just to make sure his point was getting across, Walters repeated it in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "Where are the big seizures, where are the big arrests of individuals who are at least logistical coordinators? When it's being launched from controlled airports and seaports, where are the arrests of corrupt officials? At some point here, this is tantamount to collusion," Walters said.
    The charge comes after the US government last fall named Venezuela as one of two governments world-wide that had failed to live up to US drug policy objectives and more than two years after Chavez ordered a halt to all cooperation with the DEA in Venezuela, charging that the agency was violating Venezuelan sovereignty.
    Venezuela was quick to respond to Walters. At a Caracas press conference Tuesday, Nestor Reverol, head of the National Anti-Drug Office, said that Venezuela had been very busy fighting the cocaine trade, having seized more than 50 tons of drugs last year, busted 11 cocaine labs, identified 186 airstrips, and arrested more than 4,000 people.
    Reverol said Washington should "stop using the fight against drugs as a political weapon" and added that his government would sue the US a the Organization of American States (OAS) over its "belligerence" and "baseless charges" about Venezuela's drug-fighting efforts.
    On Wednesday, Venezuelan Ambassador to the OAS Jorge Valero followed-up with a speech to the OAS Permanent Council charging that US drug policy is "immoral and interventionist."
    The DEA, he said, had monitored drug runs inside Venezuela without notifying Venezuelan authorities, a violation of national sovereignty. "The DEA encourages the interference of the US government in other countries' domestic affairs by hiding behind the excuse of anti-drug cooperation," Valero charged. "Venezuela is not going back to be a colony of any empire. Venezuela is a free sovereign country and claims the right to develop its own anti-drug policies. It should be known that Venezuela is doing it successfully."
    Meanwhile, the Miami Herald breathlessly reported Sunday that Chavez had said in a recent speech that he used coca every day and that Bolivian President Evo Morales sent it to him. ''I chew coca every day in the morning... and look how I am,'' he is seen saying on a video of the speech, as he shows his biceps to the audience. Just as Fidel Castro ''sends me Coppelia ice cream and a lot of other things that regularly reach me from Havana,'' Bolivian President Morales "sends me coca paste... I recommend it to you."
    While Chavez said "coca paste," which is typically smoked, it seems clear that he was referring to coca leaf, which is chewed.
    The Herald and several experts it consulted worried that Chavez had admitted committing an illegal act and even violating the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which bans coca. One expert even worried that Chavez had named Morales as a "narco trafficker." But neither Chavez nor Morales seem as worried as the Herald and its experts.
  6. mouthwater
    More on Chavez's love phor coca:
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