Venezuela Better Off without DEA Says Vice President

On Thursday, Ramon Carrizalez, vice president of Venezuela, blamed the U.S, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for lower drug confiscation rates during the period in which Venezuela was cooperating with it.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com

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Vice president Ramon Carrizalez demonstrating drug statistics yesterday (VTV)
Vice president Ramon Carrizalez demonstrating drug statistics yesterday (VTV)
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Mérida, April 4, 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com)-- On Thursday, Ramon Carrizalez, vice president of Venezuela, blamed the U.S, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for lower drug confiscation rates during the period in which Venezuela was cooperating with it.

Carrizalez showed the press how before cooperation with the DEA formally ended in August 2005, between 2001 to 2004, 153 tons of different types of drugs were seized, while between 2005 to 2008-while there was no cooperation-250 tons were seized. With cocaine in particular, 94 tons were seized during the first period, and 162 in the second. The statistics Carrizalez used came from the United Nations and the Colombian Army, among others.

Venezuela broke off relations with DEA after president Hugo Chavez accused their operatives of carrying out espionage, operating outside of Venezuelan law and of drug trafficking. He said, "In the case of the DEA we have detected intelligence infiltrations that threaten the security and defence of the country."

According to U.S.-Venezuelan lawyer and writer, Eva Golinger, there was evidence to show that DEA agents had appropriated illegal drug shipments, bungled Venezuelan government efforts to seize and process drug traffickers, and had sabotaged numerous attempts to catch drug smugglers and traffickers.

"That agreement [with DEA] merely encouraged drug trafficking by the so-called ‘controlled delivery,' they took advantage of the controlled deliveries to introduce the drugs to the U.S.," said Carrizalez.

"Drug cartels are functioning within DEA," he added, stating that it was important that Venezuelans know about the reality of cooperating with DEA and the reasons behind the government's refusal to permit it to fly over Venezuelan territory.

Carrizalez also said the U.S. government needs to accept that "consumption is the main cause of high rates of drug trafficking," and elaborated that it is impossible to control the drug problem if consumption is not controlled and if the highest consumers don't accept that this problem is in their own countries.

"[The statistics] are proof that efficiency under agreements with DEA is an illusion, it is a lie. Countries achieve better results when its own security organizations are fully involved in the fight against drugs."

The vice president also announced on Thursday that so far this year 8,936 kilograms of drugs have been seized, attributing their confiscation to the work of the National Anti Drugs Office (ONA) and the Venezuelan police.

"In the last few weeks there have been some really impressive quantities of laboratory drugs ... captured in Venezuela."

He said there was a reality in Venezuela that has been dealt with, "because we find ourselves between the main producer and consumer, more than anything we are a victim of this market and of this perverse system that goes against humanity."

Carrizalez also said that the number of Venezuelans working with drugs outside the country had gone down, and that there are almost 7,000 people in jail for drug trafficking in Venezuela, "and a large number of people deported to various countries."

He did his presentation during an event in which Venezuela formally received 120 vehicles as part of an agreement with Venirauto, a Venezuelan-Irani company. ONA will use the vehicles. Six mobile theatres will also be distributed to different states to promote the prevention of drug use. The trucks were previously used for drug trafficking and were confiscated.