Gil Kerlikowse, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, recognized the efforts of Venezuelan law enforcement authorities in the fight against drugs during an event at George Washington University.
Kerlikowse said that while there were concerns about drug trafficking in Venezuela; he sees that the issue is a priority for Venezuelan law enforcement officials and that important efforts are being undertaken, especially in limiting local demand for drugs.
Anti-drug specialists from several universities and think tanks also attended the event, “Security, Drugs and Democracy in Latin America.”
Kerlikowse’s statements came ahead of the release of the U.S. State Department’s annual drug report, which is due to Congress on March 1.
The report has strongly criticized Venezuela since the Latin American country decided to suspend cooperation with the DEA in 2005, which it accused of participating in acts of espionage. The U.S. government does not recognize such allegations.
The Venezuelan government has criticized these reports as unilateral and politically motivated. According to the Venezuelan National Anti-Drug Office (ONA), the government seized 63 tons of drugs in 2010, an increase from the two years prior. The last report released by ONA shows that between January 1 and February 25, 2011, 7.7 tons of drugs were seized.
In January, Kerlikowse visited Colombia to meet with government authorities.
Venezuela and Colombia have strengthened ties considerably since Juan Manuel Santos came president in August 2010.
AVN / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / February 28, 2011