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ONA launches OAS-supported seminar on control and handling procedures for chemical substances

The Venezuelan National Anti-Drugs Office (ONA) launched a seminar today, April 27th, 2009, for officials from the Venezuelan government’s security agencies.  The goal of this workshop is to train public employees from these agencies to strengthen control mechanisms in order to prevent chemical substances from being used in the production of illicit drugs.  The initiative is being jointly conducted by the ONA along with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS).

The Director of the ONA, Néstor Reverol, indicated that his office has made important steps in the fight against drugs.  “We have substances controlled by law; so far this year we have seized 2,700 tons of chemicals . . . and we have trained over 700 agents,” he said during the opening of the Seminar on Adequate Control, Handling and Final Disposal Mechanisms for Precursor and Essential Chemical Substances. 

At the meeting, Reverol added that “the production of different illicit drugs in the world requires huge amounts of essential chemicals and precursors, and as part of [Venezuela’s] fight against drugs, we prevent the illegal transit of chemical substances, particularly from the Republic of Colombia.”

Reverol further noted that the government the vision and mission to transform Venezuela into a global petrochemical power. “Given that, we must begin training our personnel now in order to establish the necessary controls,” he explained.

Another speaker at the seminar, Rafael Parada, head of CICAD’s Demand Reduction Program, laid out the commission’s operations.  He said that the CICAD is a technical agency of the OAS in charge of drug problems in the hemisphere that deals with demand reduction, money laundering, prevention, legislation and chemical precursors.

“The topic of chemical precursors is one which is very important to us, because obviously without the essential chemicals it is practically impossible to produce illicit drugs,” Parada said.

He also indicated that a hemispheric study was undertaken to evaluate the training and technical assistance needs relating to the control of precursor and essential chemicals.  With respect to this, Parada noted that a pilot program has been launch that had very satisfactory results.  As such, it was decided that this training should be given to CICAD member countries.  “Venezuela was chosen as the first country to be offered this training . . . to be followed by Chile [and] Brazil,” Parada explained. 

The seminar brought international experts on the topic from Peru, Colombia and Argentina “with the goal of exchanging experiences on how they operate these controls in their countries,” Parada said.

Reverol thanks CICAD and the OAS for offering this type of seminar in Venezuela and he recognized the technical support and evaluation of the National Anti-Drugs Plan.

The seminar begins today and will end on April 30th.  It will train fifty agents from the Tax and Customs Administration Office (SENIAT), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), the Ministry of People’s Power for Trade, the Ministry of People’s Power for Health and Social Welfare, the Public Ministry (MP), the Corps for Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations (CICPC) and the ONA.

National Anti-Drugs Press Office, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press office / April 27, 2009

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