HomeNewsBriefIndicted Minister: Venezuela is Free of Drug Trafficking
BRIEF

Indicted Minister: Venezuela is Free of Drug Trafficking

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 24 AUG 2016 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Venezuela's new minister of Interior and Justice touted the country's drug interdiction bona fides just weeks after the US government announced he had been indicted on drug trafficking charges.

Minister Néstor Luis Reverol said Venezuela was responsible for 4 percent of all drug seizures worldwide between 2008 and 2010, when he served as the country's top anti-drug official, reported Panorama. He added that Venezuela seized more drugs than any other country during that period.

Reverol also said that the acquisition of special planes to intercept drug flights has enabled Venezuela to gain control over its air space and effectively end the illicit drug trade in the country. 

"We are a country free of drug trafficking," Panorama quoted Reverol as saying.

In early August, the US government unsealed an indictment against Reverol and one other Venezuelan official accusing them of protecting drug traffickers in exchange for bribes. The next day, President Nicolás Maduro promoted Reverol to Interior minister. Both Maduro and Reverol pointed to the country's supposed success in combating drug trafficking as evidence that the US allegations were false. 

"How am I going to be a drug trafficker if I have spent 30 years fighting drug trafficking and searching for capos?" Reverol said earlier this year in response to previous reports of a US indictment. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The idea that Venezuela has eradicated drug trafficking flies in the face facts and reason. To be sure, the lack of official crime statistics, and transparency in general, has made it difficult for observers to assess the current security situation in Venezuela. But Reverol's claim -- which has also been peddled by other high-level Venezuelan officials recently -- smacks of a political agenda overshadowing honest appraisal of the facts.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

Contrary to the Interior minister's remarks, there is abundant evidence that drug traffickers with airplanes continue to use Venezuela as a launching pad for cocaine shipments to other parts of Latin America and Europe. In addition, cells of corrupt military officials known collectively as the "Cartel of the Suns" are heavily involved in the country's illicit drug trade. The US State Department has called Venezuela one of the top drug trafficking routes in the region because of its "porous western border with Colombia, weak judicial system, sporadic international counternarcotics cooperation, and permissive and corrupt environment."

Reverol's unrealistic discourse is representative of Venezuela's growing isolation from the international community. An increasing number of high-level officials accused of drug trafficking by the US government have either remained in positions of power or have even been promoted. And the head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, recently said the sentencing of political opposition leader Leopoldo López marked the end of democracy in Venezuela.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELN / 26 MAR 2012

Although both governments have downplayed the presence of Colombia rebel groups in Venezuela, a report from El Colombiano details how…

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 20 SEP 2019

New evidence suggests that late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez allied with the FARC to “flood” the United States with cocaine,…

VENEZUELA / 13 APR 2012

A former US diplomat claims that a group of high-ranking officials in the Venezuelan military are planning to declare martial…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…