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Venezuela to host counternarcotics summit of Latin America and Caribbean

In September Venezuela will host the first summit of counternarcotics heads from Latin America and the Caribbean, said Colonel Néstor Reverol, Director of Venezuela’s National Anti-Drug Office (ONA).

Reverol made the announcement during a meeting he had with Erick Woerth, the French Minister of Budgets, Public Accounts and Finances, at the ONA office in Caracas.  This Ministry is in charge of fighting drugs in France.

Reverol said that Venezuela was unanimously chosen to host the summit last year in Honduras, and noted that the choice was due to the “excellent image” Venezuela has in the fight against drugs.

“We have repaired our international image in the fight against drugs, not with words but with actions.  The work done by every police agency, the Bolivarian National Armed Force and all the policies and strategies implemented by the government have been successful,” added the ONA Director.

He emphasized that since the country is used as a transit route for drug trafficking, Venezuelan policies have been aimed at closing these routes to as to prevent the illicit trafficking of drugs through the country.

Reverol noted that Venezuela now has ten radar systems, whereas it had none before.  These required an investment of over $260 million, and soon Venezuela will acquire 18 K-8 planes that will be used to intercept illicit flights.

The ONA Director indicated that last year 27 drug smuggling planes were seized, while 13 planes have been seized so far this yaer.

Venezuela and France deepen counternarcotics cooperation

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduro Moros, received French Budget Minister Woerth on Thursday.  The two spoke about deepening cooperation between the two nations in the fight against drugs.

Woerth brought a message from the President of France, Nicolás Sarkozy, with the goal of “re-boosting the friendship with President Chávez and the people of Venezuela.”

The delegation accompanying Minister Worth included Nicolás Calcoen, Deputy Director of the Ministry for the Budget, Public Accounts and Finances; Jerome Fournel, Director of Customs and Indirect Rights; and Gérard Schoen, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs, Disputes, Controls and the Fight against Fraud, among others.

Minister Woerth emphasized that the French President wants to improve cooperation between the two countries in the area of security, “which includes the fight against drug trafficking, sustainable development, energy and technological cooperation, particularly in the Caracas Metro.”

He also highlighted that the goal is to improve relations between France and Venezuela.

Minister Woerth added that he had previously met with officials from the ONA, whom he informed of the creation of the position of Customs Attaché to the Embassy of France in Venezuela.  This post was created to deepen the fight against drugs and update a 20 year-old agreement in order to reinforce counternarcotics cooperation.

Venezuelan representatives taking part in the meeting between Ministers Woerth and Sarkozy included Alejandro Fleming, Vice Minister for Europe; Temir Porras, the Foreign Ministry’s Chief of Staff; and Maximiliam Arvelaez, Director of International Affairs for the Presidency.

Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias (ABN), Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / April 24, 2009

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