VenEconomy: An outlaw state?
At home and abroad, many people are asking themselves whether Venezuela has become an outlaw state. Some maintain that, if it is not, it is about to become one in the light of a series of incidents and circumstances that seriously compromise it.
One of those circumstances is Hugo Chávez's determination to keep the wrong kind of company and defend government leaders who have been internationally recognized as being guilty of genocide, bearing in mind that a man is known by the company he keeps. His affinity with governments such as those of Cuba, Iran, Belarus, North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Russia is common knowledge. He staunchly defended Omar Hassan al-Bachir after he was condemned by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's Darfur region. What beat everything was Chávez's invitation to al-Bachir to come to Venezuela despite the fact that there was an international warrant out for his arrest.
Another of the circumstances that compromise the VenezuelanState is the Chávez administration's evidently close ties with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The cherry on that cake was when, in January 2008, Chávez requested the international community, in a nationwide networked broadcast, to lift the FARC's and the ELN's (National Liberation Army) classification as terrorist organizations and that their political and belligerent status be recognized.
More recently, there has been Chávez's barefaced intervention in the internal affairs of Honduras, which has apparently reach such a pitch that, this Thursday, July 16, the provisional government of Roberto Micheletti requested the UN Security Council to intervene and apply Articles 1 and 2 of the UNO Charter on the grounds of the “threats” and “violations” of which it has accused the President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez.
But one of the most worrisome items of news is the report submitted this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the US Congress. The GAO denounces the growing penetration of drug trafficking in Venezuela, which it classifies as a “narcostate,” and claims that it is one of the major transshipment hubs for cocaine en route to countries such as Spain and the United States, with Honduras frequently being used as an air-bridge.
The report highlights the lack of cooperation by Chávez and his government in the fight against drug trafficking and blames this situation on “a high level of corruption within the Venezuelan government, military and other law enforcement and security forces [that] contributes to the permissive environment.”
At home, the deterioration of the government is evident in the high crime rates that have led Venezuela to be classified as one of the most violent and corrupt countries in the hemisphere, where crimes such as kidnapping, contract killings, and drug-related murders have increased exponentially.
Even more serious is the fact that ever larger numbers of the state security and police forces are involved in these crimes, according to reports by the Attorney General's Office. The extremes to which this situation has gone were mentioned by Nelson Bocaranda in his column this Thursday, where he denounces that “the FARC have collaborated with certain merchants in Táchira, who had paid protection money, to discover several kidnappings” in which groups of national guardsmen were allegedly involved.
That is the terrible situation that Venezuelans are living due, mainly, to the destruction of the institutions at every level, magnified by a government without principles or values.
VenEconomy has been a Venezuela's leading specialized publisher on financial, political and economic data since 1982. VenEconomy's Points of View on the issues of the day, as seen by VenEconomy during the last week. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.
Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by VeneEconomy on 07/17/2009. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers .
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Petroleumworld News 07/20/09
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