HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Border State a Drug Trafficking Haven: NYT
BRIEF

Venezuela Border State a Drug Trafficking Haven: NYT

VENEZUELA / 8 AUG 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

The Venezuelan border state of Apure is one of the busiest transit areas for cocaine heading to the Caribbean, with much of the drug trade controlled by Colombian rebels, according to a New York Times report.

The Times reported that local residents say they are accustomed to the sound of low-flying drug flights overhead and the sight of patrols by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who protect drug shipments.

This evidence of how openly the drug trade is conducted in Apure, one of Venezuela’s poorest states, contradicts assertions by government officials that they are doing everything they can to combat organized crime in the region, the Times report said.

In a May news conference, the governor of Apure said the authorities had destroyed 36 hidden airfields in the state and had reduced the number of illicit flights detected by half. The Times visited one airstrip that had reportedly been destroyed by the army, and noted that “there were no signs that soldiers had blasted holes in the runway or taken other steps to prevent it from being used again.”

Colombia has long accused Venezuela of tolerating rebel presence in border states like Apure, Zulia, and Tachira. The FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) both keep encampments in these regions.

InSight Crime Analysis

Venezuelan security forces present cocaine seizures and the dismantling of airstrips in Apure as evidence of progress in their fight against organized crime, and argue that they lack the resources to do much more. On July 18 and July 23, the National Guard and the police in Apure announced seizures of 820 and 250 kilos of cocaine, respectively.

The judiciary has also made some effort to prosecute members of the security forces accused of links to the drug trade in Apure, recently presenting charges against nine former police officers.

The question is whether these are merely small-time seizures and prosecutions intended to mask the fact there is high-level tolerance of and involvement in drug trafficking across the border. As the Times report observed, the government has overstated its success in permanently dismantling many of Apure’s airstrips, casting doubt on claims that the government is doing everything it can to disrupt drug trafficking operations.

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.

Tags

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

SECURITY POLICY / 23 NOV 2018

Two sweeping investigations into police units serving along Venezuela’s border were ordered after the arrest of 15 officers, several of…

COLOMBIA / 29 AUG 2018

Rivers of gasoline flow across the desert border from Venezuela into Colombia’s La Guajira department, nourishing an immense illegal market…

COLOMBIA / 20 JAN 2014

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has blamed the country's violence and drug trafficking on criminals from Colombia, an analysis that fails…

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…