Top Venezuelan military and government officials have long been suspected of heavy involvement in the drug trade. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported their suspicions and findings. Chavez booted the U.S. DEA out of Venezuela in 2005, accusing them of spying and conspiring to bring down his regime.
Venezuela’s active role in the smuggling of drugs throughout Latin America, as well as European routes via Africa, has allowed drug cartels and their soldiers to accelerate and expand rapidly. The U.S. State Department reported that Chavez’s refusal to cooperate with U.S. authorities in counter-drug efforts “was exacerbating the problem.” Their report stated that “Venezuela remains a major drug transit country with high levels of corruption and a weak judicial system.” An International Narcotics Control Strategy report stated, “growing illicit drug transshipments through Venezuela are enabled by Venezuela’s lack of cooperation.”
The lack of cooperation in anti-drug enforcement by Venezuela has undoubtedly led and contributed to the reported “more than 40% of all cocaine shipments to Europe, via Africa, as going through Venezuela.” The U.S., and its budget, have been enormously impacted by this consistent drug flow north to Mexico and beyond. Chavez has tried to pacify critics with nominal extraditions of drug criminals.
As well, the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Argentine, Brazil and Paraguay in South America actively remains a major U.S. intelligence concern. The Hezbollah population in the TBA correlates to their “spreading across west Africa.” The territory known in northwest Africa as Maghreb is also home to Al-Qaeda, and it’s a staging area for drug shipments and massive profit.
From major drug transshipments and drug profits, to Iran increasing its activities in Latin America — as well as Hugo Chavez’s relationship with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, all call for extreme vigilance. And Venezuelans must stay focused with reality in mind as Chavez remains in power.
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