Venezuela as the New Cocaine Capital

The Washington Post devotes 3 pages on the burgeoning cocaine trade in Venezuela.

It sounds like a low-budget version of Scarface. The drug kingpins are in cahoots with the Venezuelan military officers. The blame is given to Bush:

The Bush administration's dismal relations with Venezuela's government have made matters worse, anti-drug agencies say, paralyzing counternarcotics cooperation.

Venezuela did cut back on U.S. intervention efforts, but here's why:


Saying his government would not stand for what he called violations of Venezuela's sovereignty, Ch¿vez banned American surveillance flights in its airspace in 1999, shortly after he took office. Then, in August 2005, he suspended bilateral anti-drug cooperation after accusing the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of spying, charges the Bush administration strenuously denies.

The drugs now leave Colombia for Venezuela where they are then flown to the Hispaniola, the Dutch North Islands and the Dominican Republic after which they are sent to the U.S.

Europe and Africa get their fair share as well:

Cocaine is also smuggled to Europe via shipping containers, on clandestine flights to Africa and on airliners using Caracas's international airport, where American authorities say airport workers are bribed to permit the smuggling of a ton of cocaine each month.

That's what happens when there's a black market for substances. People can make outrageoud amounts of money. Even the most dedicated cops and military officers go weak at the knees at the thought of what all that money can mean for them and their familiies.

It's the politics of contraband, the Smuggler's Blues (watch the video with Glenn and his real first wife, Janie Beggs who I really like.)

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  • Display: Sort:
    Venezuela government is not cooperating (none / 0) (#1)
    by DanielDuquenal on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 09:17:00 AM EST
    Inasmuch as I agree with you that if there is drug traffic it is because there is a demand (capitalism should understand that!) it is also true that unfortunately in Venezuela Chavez has not been willing to tack this issue as forcefully as he could have done.  One of the reasons is his sympathy for the FARC for who a large chunk of their revenue come from drug trafficking.

    There is also the general atmosphere of corruption in Venezuela, built on easy oil revenue and the need to sustain a populist administration.  that this "acceptable" corruption has moved on "unacceptable" corruption such as drug dealing is something that we should not be surprised to find.  In other words if there is corruption money to be made available and if you perceive that the state is not going to go after you, what can hold you on the good side of the law?  Not to mention that in some cases, if you refuse to participate you can put your life in danger....

    Where in the western hemisphere... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 12:40:04 PM EST
    ...including our own country, is there NOT a general atmosphere of corruption?  That our corruption has a different face makes it no less corrupt.  Venezuela faces many problems, not least of which are our subversive actions and desires, and in reality drug trafficking is simply far down the ladder compared to addressing basic needs and obligations to the entire population of the country.  As opposed to the poor majority so long ignored.  

    Don't Forget the AUC (none / 0) (#2)
    by Randinho on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 10:35:59 AM EST
    The AUC also gets a great deal of its money from drug trafficking and I don't imagine Chávez has much sympathy for them.

    If someone wants to end the cocaine trade, they need to attack it on the demand side. A lot of innocents in Colombia pay a heavy price for the fact that gringos in Europe and the US like to put white powder up their noses.

    Or... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Adept Havelock on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 11:22:27 AM EST
    If you really want to end the Cocaine trade you could learn to apply the same lesson this country learned with the 18th amendment.

    Prohibition simply doesn't work.

    Of course the private prison industry and the governmental agencies that depend on the WOD for their paychecks will never let that happen.

    Alternate Theory (none / 0) (#5)
    by msobel on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 12:40:54 PM EST
    This is another "Chavez is more dangerous than Stalin and does bad things" story.  I have given up trying to find balanced reporting on Chavez.  What we get is things like, he fights against recall and he takes proper management out of the nationalized businesses or he is trying to get too much power to the executive and too many rewards to his supporters.  

    Remember   Rove's Law:  Any Republican attack is a projection of what they are doing.

    Of course Chavez clamped down... on the U.S. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Michael Gass on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 02:20:41 PM EST
    It was in August 2005 that Chavez removed immunity for DEA agents.

    It was in April 2002 that Bush and the CIA tried to have Chavez ousted in a coup.

    As for the charge that we were using an agency to spy, it wouldn't be the first time.  

    As for Venezuela cocaine trade, well, when you have people who give out cocaine as party favors, what do you expect? (sorry, the actual The State article describing how Ravenel gave out cocaine at parties is now, amazingly, not archived!)

    18. The State | 09/07/2007 | Drug use spanned 2 years ... passed it out at his Charleston mansion like party favors. ... Ravenel would buy the cocaine and then "provide it to people at his party," Witherspoon said.
    www.thestate.com/news/story/166089.html [Found on Windows Live]

    I can't say I blame Venezuela... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 09:38:21 AM EST
    for not wanting to play US drug cop.

    They've got their own problems, why should they care about our self-created cocaine problem?