Venezuela's Government

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Venezuela's Government Venezuela is a major transit country for cocaine usually processed in Colombia. Law enforcement agencies estimate that over 100 metric tons of cocaine transit Venezuela annually. There are some indications that the quantity of drugs transiting Venezuela is increasing and that smuggling of Colombian heroin is a growing problem. Narcotics-related corruption remained a problem in legal and financial systems and within security forces. Moreover, the Venezuelan authorities need to do more to combat diversion of chemical precursors and money laundering and to address the problem of over-flights by drug trafficking aircraft. Venezuela continued to be a major drug transit country in 1998. Most large scale drug shipments transiting Venezuela originate in Colombia and are smuggled out of major Venezuelan ports in commercial cargo to the U.S. and Europe. Drugs are transported on commercial aircraft (either by drug mules or hidden in air cargo) and small aircraft through Venezuelan airspace. In addition, boats carrying drug shipments from Colombia pass through Venezuela's territorial waters on their way to Caribbean transshipment points. Venezuela is a transit country for essential chemicals, which are either exported legally to Colombia and other source countries, diverted for use in cocaine labs, or smuggled out of Venezuela for this purpose. For instance, gasoline and cement are exported legally from Venezuela to Colombia and then diverted for use in cocaine processing. In 1998, Venezuela sustained its efforts to combat narcotics trafficking and consumption. The National Anti-Drug Commission (CNA) played an important coordination role by pressing for better implementation of existing legislation and lobby... ... middle of paper ... ...s. In addition to a nationwide program of regional alliances led by the Governors of each of Venezuela's states, the CNA established alliances with NGOs, the private sector, and unions to promote demand reduction programs. The CNA worked with NGOs on drug treatment, education and rehabilitation programs. In November, the CNA announced that it had signed an agreement with the European community to establish a demand reduction information center in its headquarters in Caracas. The CNA organized a nationwide study of drug abuse trends by a leading demand reduction NGO. Several influential non-governmental organizations function in Venezuela including the highly successful, private sector initiative "Alliance for a Drug-Free Venezuela." These organizations work independently and in conjunction with the CNA to raise public awareness on the dangers of drug consumption.

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