Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Venezuelas break with DEA (the other side)

Venezuela's break with the DEA: a dangerous game
By Veneconomy
23.08.05 Originally posted 18.08.05 Ten days ago the government of Hugo Chávez ended the cooperation agreement between the Venezuelan authorities and the DEA for fighting drug trafficking. With this decision, the government merely acknowledged something that had been brewing for quite some time. The only unexpected part was that the government apparently speeded up the break, in anticipation of the U.S. government’s announcement that it intended to ban six members of the National Guard’s Drug Enforcement Command from entering the United States, arguing their “little collaboration, complicity or obstruction” during joint operations.
If this is the case, the Venezuelan government came up with a way to counteract the blow from Washington and try to bend international opinion in its favor, by staging a theatrical break with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Some analysts say that the government had been looking for a way to get rid of the DEA for quite some time. There had been several warning signs that the Venezuelan government’s interest in cooperating with the U.S. in the drug war was waning. Among others, frequent breaches of agreements for fighting narcoterrorism and the split, since early this year, between the National Guard (NG) and the DEA. Then there was the mutual dislike and lack of trust between the DEA and General Frank Morgado, head of the NG’s Anti-drug Command and one of the officers who is barred from the United States.
Ever since the beginning of this year, there has been an increase in “moves” of officials who were diligent in backing the war on drugs. Among the most notorious we have: the sudden dismissal, without notice, of the President of the National Commission to Fight the Unlawful Use of Drugs (Conacuid), Mildred Camero; the splitting up of the team of professionals who worked at that agency; and the decapitation of the only operating unit that was still working in close collaboration with the DEA, when head CICPC inspector Juan de Castro was given his retirement orders.
This is what has led some people to believe that, when Chávez found out several weeks ago that the U.S. was planning on revoking the visas of senior NG officers, he saw his chance. The Venezuelan government set in motion an investigation of charges made in June, before the Fundamental Rights Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, by two “informers” for the DEA, the NG and the CICPC, concerning irregularities, ranging from “illegal actions during raids to alleged disappearance of drugs.” For Venezuela the corollary to this investigation was President Chávez’s announcement of the termination of cooperation with the DEA, an agency he accused of being a façade for "intelligence work against the government" and a collaborator in drug trafficking, in an effort to turn the table on the U.S.
Now we can expect a counterpunch from the U.S., which has been handed concrete facts to work with, not just words and ideology. Expectations are that Venezuela will not be among those “certified” by the U.S. government as a country that cooperates in the war on drugs, when the list is published on September 15. This could be a harsh blow for President Chávez’s expansionist plans. It is not at all the same for other countries and governments to show their sympathies and liking for a revolutionary as for a friend of narcoterrorism.
In the meantime, Venezuela will continue its onward rush to become a bridge for drug trafficking, as a first step towards becoming a no-man’s land where drug traffickers will do as they please.

3 comments:

TexinSYR said...

Iggy,
the whole mess with the DEA and Chavez is based on something much more fundamental. The idea that drug prohibition works is insane. It's a crusade. Thomas Sowell stated that the “difference between a policy and a crusade is that the policy is judged on it’s efficacy while the crusade is judged on how good it makes the crusaders feel.”
Since we have ramped up the Drug War over the past 30 yrs, we have spent a trillion dollars. Drugs are now more available, more potent and in many cases, cheaper. How can this be considered success? We are reliving alcohol prohibition and it is eating us. By exporting this policy to other countries, we have made more countries hate us.

iggy said...

As I watch the Meth addict who is working for my slumlord, I think we are losing the drug war. Maybe that is the problem... we are calling the problem, "war" not human beings who are destroying their lives. I agree that so many resources have been wasted over the years. I also agree that appearances seem more important than the truth or real results.

I am though at a loss as to what course we should take. I hear a lot of criticism, yet really no new ideas.

Blessings,
iggy

TexinSYR said...

Iggy,
the King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project (Seattle, WA area) has come up with some great ideas and they are changing public policy like no other grp in America. (http://www.kcba.org)
Take a look at the assembly of idea people: ministers, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, attys, law enforcement people and many more have developed long range plans.
Next, there's the new grp called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://www.leap.cc) made up of cops, judges and others in the criminal justice system who call for an end to the Drug War and provide some form of regulation over all drugs. Heck, why leave the control of the manufacture and distribution of all drugs to people like Al Capone?
Take a look. I appreciate your sincerity on this.