Thursday, March 12, 2009

Venezuela cited for drugs Dominica implicated

By The Newsdesk

ramon chacin
Ramon Rodriguez Chacin (left) accused of assisting narcotics trafficking from Columbia.

The U.S. State Department has accused senior Venezuelan officials, including a close aide to President Hugo Chavez, of assisting narcotics trafficking from Colombia in an annual report that describes Venezuela as a "major drug-transit country."

President Hugo Chavez adamantly denied the allegation telling the National Assembly that President Obama should "go clean up that dirt."

"The biggest support for narco-trafficking comes from the nation of the north," Mr. Chavez told lawmakers also accusing Mr. Obama of continuing the hostile policies of the Bush administration.

According to the State Department’ s 2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, "Venezuela remains a major drug-transit country with high-levels of corruption and a weak judicial system. Growing illicit drug transshipments through Venezuela are enabled by Venezuela’s lack of international counter narcotics cooperation."

The report however does not accuse Mr. Chavez of direct involvement in the drug trade, but it names three senior Venezuelan officials as "Tier II Kingpins" for material assisting the narcotics trafficking activities of FARC," the main Marxist rebel movement in neighboring Colombia. The officials include Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, a top aide to Mr. Chavez, who has served as justice and interior minister.

According to the report, "Narcotics trafficking in Venezuela has increased fivefold since 2002, from 50 [metric tons] to 250 [metric tons] in 2007." The report claims that Venezuela now serves as the main outlet into the U.S. and Europe for cocaine and heroin produced in Colombia.

It details the arrest of Venezuelan traffickers in Dominica, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St. Lucia, and several West African countries, including Ghana and Guinea. According to the report these countries now serve as a bridge for drugs entering Europe.

The issue of Venezuelan drug traffickers in Dominica came into sharp focus in 2008 when a Venezuelan vessel was seized by the Dominican coastguard. Police in Dominica arrested eight Venezuelan men in waters just outside of Grand Bay. The boat was shadowed for several hours by the Dominica coast guard before it was boarded and the arrest effected. Over a million dollars in cash was found onboard.

The men were charged with trying to enter the country illegally and for failing to declare the cash in their possession. They appeared in a local court in Roseau represented by Dominica’s ambassador to Venezuela Lennox Lawrence, and were subsequently fined and released.

Other officials named in the scathing five-page section about Venezuela include Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios and Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva, who head key anti-narcotics and intelligence units.

"Counter narcotics successes in Colombia have forced traffickers to shift routes through neighboring Venezuela," says the State Department, which accuses key units of Venezuela's security services, including the Special Anti-Narcotics Units of the National Guard and the Federal Investigative Police, of being complicit in the drug trade.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has said that the report is "plagued with lies," claiming that drug seizures and arrests have increased in Venezuela during the past year. E-mail to a friend

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The authorities in Dominica must do more to stop that drug trafficking. Some of those same drugs are finding their way on the streets of Roseau causing havoc with the youth.
On my four-weeks visit to Dominica over the carnival season, I was shocked at the number of young men on the streets of Roseau who are homeless and destitute as a result of drug abuse. The junior calypso monarch reflected this situation in his song "too much parro in Roseau". I further investigated this matter with a Catholic Church charity group that have been trying to do something about the plight of these young men. Having secured EU assistance for the funding of a soup kitchen in Roseau to feed these men, the charity group on seeking government approval/assistance was told by a certain permanent secretary (name known but withheld) to take these parros out of town and up to Pond Cassé because he will never approve of such a project in Roseau. Indicating also that most of these young men are foreigners and not Dominicans! The stalling of this project resulted in the EU funding which had already been secured being returned to Europe. While there is a recognition of the damage that hard drugs are having on the Dominican youth, particularly on the young men, there does not appear to be any strong will or appetite by those in authority to do something positive about the situation. Gerald J. La Touche JP (UK Magistrate)
It is to the credit of our system of government, police force/ coast guard for intercepting these narco-traffickers. The drug business is huge, powerful and easily overwhelms nations nations big and small. Let us work harder in our churches and our schools to warn of the dangers of getting high (or any kind of substance abuse for that matter, be it alcohol or nicotine). To develop our country, we need clear minds along with a determination to defend ourselves from such insidious threats both from and abroad.
I certainly praise the efforts of our local police, but it appears that we may have gotten more than we bargained for with this ALBA arrangement and the 'chuminess' of the two country leaders.
Vwa La!!! Venezuela again....
Blamimg "ALBA" and the "Chuminess of two country leaders, is not going to help our young people in Dominica. We have had a drug problem in Dominica years before ALBA or Chavez. Cocaine and Crack came on the increase when the then Govt.of Dominica UWP, stop the coast Guard ships around the coast of Dominica. Most of the Crack heads in DA came from the USA, they are deported to the birth Country after serving jail time or when they become a problem to the USA. Those who are caught dealing are also deported to their birth countries where they keep on dealing.
What hurts me more about this is the fact that the Some people in Dominica know who are the Dealers, importers and the Mister BIG as they say, but nobody will come forward or do anything, so more of our young people fall into this sick trap.
There is certainly a strong link of drug trafficking in the past 10 years coming from south, St. Vincent and Venezuela. We have already established that USA are buyers, but the in transit to Dominica is mainly the headache from these two names contries above, increasingly. How on earth can you have the Domninica Ambasador to Venezuela quickly and hurriedly assigned or volunteered to represent Venezuelas and the same was not done for the father of five from Newtown when his boat was confiscated. Is there not a conflict of interets and how much ws that lawyer/ambassador paid.The Newtown father was able to send his children to private school and all this had to stop when he was arrested. For those who are unaware of the intricies and techmicalities, social networks of how this operates and countries down south using Dominica because it is seen as a vulnerable island please be aware of your comments, and keep it open in the quest to know more.
Today's world has no room for "poor me, there's nothing I can/could do," and that applies whether the challenge is a personal or national one. Yes the US continues to be a big consumer of illicit drugs and that causes the drug business to flourish and cause problems for others. However, the US is also the biggest source of remittances (money from overseas relatives) and that makes up the biggest income stream (or usually among the top 3) for many **countries** around the world. The US is the largest global aid donor by far. Selective aid to Dominica aside, China's aid contribution are much smaller--even as it now holds the largest bag of cash in the world. The US is still the primary bank roller of the UN. When assigning blame, put the entire picture in perspective,. The Bottom line is that the benefit of drug money for a few will never compensate for the large-scale damage that drug use and trafficking will wreak on a society. The drugs 'cash flash' and promise of easy money for the little man is pure #S! Dominica needs to be careful about falling into two types of dependency with its Venezuelan relationship: 1)'frendly' Venezuelan government money to keep propping up the island and never allow it to become competent at sustaining itself. 2) a drug addiction--of both substance and illegal money--that will make Dominica a basket case for generations to come. See how Haiti just can't become unstuck for what seems like infinity. A similar fate awaits any country that is careless about its future. Dominicans DO have the power to shape their destiny. The types of discussions and ideas we promote on the radio, in politics, at schools and in our churches will show where our priorities are.
Skerrit needs to end this DEPENDENCY upon Chavez and Venezuela. As a proud Dominican, I am extremely concerned about this relationship. I don't think we are being made aware of the entire truth behind this buddy buddy relationship. What is Skerrit promising to give Chavez in exchange for all the money that this DICTATOR Chavez is pouring into my island. Dominicans open your eyes.
I can tell you what Chavez is after, it dose not take a rocket scientist to figer this out. The man wants the carib reserves and
it looks like he will have it if we the people of Doninica don't
open out eye. free trade in and one way out
I think we all know what happens in Venezuela regarding the drugs.If the drug dealers are supported by people in high places everything will be extremely hard to erase drug problems.
prescription drug rehab center in California

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