Venezuela rejects US drug-report accusations

Reaction follows claim that South American country is failing to meet its obligations in fighting narcotics trafficking.

    Venezuela rejects US drug-report accusations
    The US report cites Venezuela as a major conduit for cocaine coming from neighbouring Colombia [Reuters]

    Venezuela has rejected a US report that criticised the South American country of failing to meet its obligations in fighting the drug trade.

    President Barack Obama's annual drugs memorandum that was published on Friday said Venezuela remains "one of the preferred trafficking routes out of South America", thanks to its "porous western border with Colombia", a top cocaine producer.

    The US also mentioned Venezuela's "weak judicial system, inconsistent international counternarcotics co-operation and generally permissive and corrupt environment."

    President Hugo Chavez's government dismissed the accusations in a statement on Saturday..

    "As the biggest drug consumer on the planet, the United States lacks the moral authority to judge the policies of other countries," Venezuela's foreign ministry said.

    The statement also accused the US of "permanent aggressiveness against independent governments such as Venezuela's in order to impose, through intimidation, its policy of international domination and abuse".

    Chavez, a socialist seeking re-election next month, is a ferocious critic of the US, and his near 14-year rule has been characterised by frequent bilateral spats and incidents.

    Accused by critics of collusion with Colombian rebels who depend on smuggling for financing, the Chavez government says that anti-narcotics operations have actually improved since 2005, when Chavez ejected US drug-enforcement agents, accusing them of spying.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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