VIO News Blog

September 5, 2008

Venezuelan Government “Dealt Blows to Drug Trafficking”

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 9:08 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

President Chavez responded yesterday to US criticisms by saying that his government has “dealt many blows to drug trafficking.” The AP reports that the Venezuelan leader indicated that US officials ought to curb demand for drugs at home, rather than criticize other nations. The US says that the amount of cocaine passing through Venezuela has risen, while seizures have dropped, but bases this only on its estimate of suspected drug flights. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government’s own National Anti-Drug Office cites rising seizures and arrests. Over three tons of drugs were incinerated on Wednesday.

Venezuela’s National Assembly voted yesterday to approve a bill asserting state control over wholesale gas distribution, while allowing 67 percent of the country’s gas stations to remain privately owned, AP reports. Though media outlets call this a “seizure,” private wholesalers will be compensated by the state for their assets. According to the government, state distributors will be as effective or more effective in reaching all areas of the country. BBC News reports that the measure may also help stop the cross-border smuggling of fuel between Venezuela and Colombia.

Finally, in international news, Venezuela’s navy has conducted joint exercises with the Netherlands to improve its crisis response and rescue abilities, AP reports. After this week’s agreements in oil and gas between Venezuela and South Africa, IPS reports that the countries are forging a “strategic alliance.” The accords signed Tuesday established a shared “commission for the areas of energy, mining, agriculture and other economic and social issues.”

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