The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is about to release a new study reporting links between Venezuela and increased cocaine trafficking. The report notes that shipments of cocaine transiting Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela increased from 60 metric tons in 2004 to 260 metric tons in 2007. (The State Department says 300 metric tons in 2008.) The report will also highlight sustained links between Venezuela and the narco-terrorists of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
According to the GAO, corruption in Venezuela’s National Guard “poses the most significant threat.” The National Guard reports directly to Chavez and controls movements in Venezuela’s airports, borders, and ports.
This same National Guard carried out an eviction of state policemen from their headquarters in the city of Curiepe, Miranda State, touching off a violent local protest. The National Guard, operating on instructions from the Chavez camp, evicted policemen under the command of the state’s governor. Miranda’s governor, elected last November, is a staunch opponent of Chavez. To neutralize any opposition, Chavez is conducting an unconstitutional campaign of aggressive centralization to strip elected officials of authority, resources, and control of personnel.
The mayor of Miranda, along with other opposition governors and Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma will visit Washington next week to meet with the Organization of American States to complain about Chavez’s violations of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to report on his relentless efforts to undermine their authority and establish monolithic centralization in Venezuela.
Even the pro-Obama Center for American Progress wonders where Chavez’s “contradictions” will carry him next and worries about his extensive capacity for Hemispheric political mischief.