The U.S. State Department on Monday released a report criticizing Venezuela for failing to combat Colombian guerilla groups involved in cocaine trafficking operations and claiming to have strong evidence that “some elements” of Venezuela’s security forces “directly assist” the FARC and ELN.
The report said that Venezuela “does not cooperate consistently with the United States and other countries to reduce the flow of cocaine through Venezuela,” and that “There is strong evidence that some elements of Venezuela’s security forces directly assist” the FARC and ELN.
The information was released as part of the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, a yearly summation of international efforts to curb traffic in illegal narcotics and the money laundering associated with it. The report often serves as a reference for possible sanctions against those countries not deemed to be doing enough to fight the problem of illegal drugs.
However, the report also stated that the United States was ready to resume counternarcotics operations with Venezuela, now that the two countries have resumed diplomatic relations.
Colombia received praise in the report for the policies of President Alvaro Uribe, which have led to “dramatic progress” in the government’s control over its own territory. According to the report, these strengthened security policies have led to higher rates of economic growth, a stronger civil society, and greater access to institutions of justice.
But the report also pointed to areas with room for improvement, stating that Colombia, aside continuing its war against leftist guerrillas “needs to further weaken the criminal organizations that have arisen in recent years to control narcotrafficking,” meaning the neo-paramilitary groups, as described in Human Rights Watch’s recent report.
The State Department also suggested that Colombia needs to finance more counternarcotics operations in areas where guerillas are causing conflict, and said that they are concerned over the rise in drug consumption within the country.
Earlier Monday, a Spanish judge also accused Venezuelan authorities of collaborating with Colombian guerrillas. Venezuela rejected these claims.