The Telegraph - UK
May 10, 2007
Venezuela's anti-US government is turning a blind eye to cocaine shipments destined for Europe, it was claimed yesterday.
John Walters, who is George W. Bush's drug czar, said President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela had opened the door to traffickers by shutting out US investigators.
The populist, Left-wing president's refusal to work with the US had undermined victories in the war on drugs in Latin American countries by opening new routes to smugglers, said Mr Walters. "What we have seen is movement by air coming out of Venezuela for the first time, using known airfields, moving it into the Caribbean area, most heavily into Haiti and the Dominican Republic."
The development was dangerous for Europe, said Mr Walters, the director of the White House's international and national drug policy, because demand there was increasing.
Washington is pushing European governments to put pressure on Venezuela after it told US Drug Enforcement Administration officers on Monday that they would no longer be able to carry out operations there. Venezuelan diplomats said the latest US claims were "totally false".
Spain and Portugal are the main points of entry for South American cocaine to Europe.