Venezuela, Bolivia give US backtalk over drug war 'blacklist'
For a fourth year running, the White House narcotics "blacklist" (officially the Presidential Determination on Major Illicit Drug Transit and Drug Producing Countries, released Sept. 14) named Venezuela and Bolivia as nations that have "failed demonstrably" to fight the drug trade, making them ineligible for US aid. Caracas and La Paz struck back angrily to the announcement. "Venezuela deplores the United States government's insistence on undermining bilateral relations by publishing this kind of document, with no respect for the sovereignty and dignity of the Venezuelan people," Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said, accusing Washington of a "permanent line of aggression against independent sovereign governments." Bolivian President Evo Morales said in a speech in the Andean region of Oruro: "The United States has no morality, authority or ethics that would allow it to speak about the war on drugs. Do you know why? Because the biggest market for cocaine and other drugs is the United States. They should tell us by what percentage they have reduced the internal market. The internal market keeps growing and in some states of the United States they're even legalizing the sale of cocaine under medical control." (EFE, Sept. 15)
This last claim is not true, and is rather an irony given that Morales himself has been a critic of prohibition, at least of coca leaf.
The report also again named Burma as having failed in its drug war responsibilities, but also saw progress there, finding that the regime has already eradicated more than three times the amount of opium than it did last year, and strengthened cooperation with regional and international partners such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Obama said that "given the government's demonstrated commitment to reform and promising signs of action on future poppy eradication, it is in the interest of the US government to grant Burma a national interest waiver"—meaning US drug war aid will resume there. (AFP, Sept. 15)
Obama reached the same finding regarding Venezuela and Bolivia, but both these governments refuse cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration.