VIO News Blog

September 17, 2008

Bush White House Condemns Venezuela, Bolivia on Drugs

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 1:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Bush administration released its annual drug report yesterday, blacklisting Bolivia and Venezuela as countries that “failed to comply” with counter-narcotics efforts. This comes after Bolivia expelled its US ambassador for colluding with violent anti-government groups, and Venezuela did so, too, in solidarity. The Wall Street Journal reports that this “raises the heat” on leaders there. The report cites “inaction” on drugs by Venezuela despite clear progress such as a more than 50% rise in  narcotics seizures and frequent arrests of drug kingpins. White House drug reports often serve political ends, and are used to sanction countries. Reuters reports, though, that Bush declared, “support for programs to aid Venezuela’s democratic institutions and… bilateral programs in Bolivia are vital to the national interests of the United States.” To read the report, click here.

In Bolivia, the Morales government has offered dialogue with the opposition groups responsible for massacring at least 30 peasants and seizing government buildings and gas pipelines. The AP reports that a pact signed Tuesday requires the violent factions to cease their deadly actions, while peasant groups will end peaceful “counter-demonstrations in support of Bolivia’s first indigenous president.”

Finally, the Washington Post reports on recent changes in crude prices, which skyrocketed this year before falling by about 37%. The Post claims that high oil prices “emboldened confrontational oil exporters” like President Chavez in Venezuela. The AP reports, though, that the drop in the value of oil has not ruffled the Venezuelan leader, who simply said he hopes prices will stabilize. When President Chavez was first elected in 1998, oil was around $14 per barrel — compared to $100 or more. Since then, windfall oil profits have been used to reduce poverty in Venezuela.

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