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Venezuela, Bolivia reject U.S. accusation of non-cooperation on drugs - Metro US

Venezuela, Bolivia reject U.S. accusation of non-cooperation on drugs

FILE PHOTO: A coca grower stands near his crop in Villa Cristal during an eradication of coca plants program in the Chapare region,

CARACAS/LA PAZ (Reuters) – Venezuela and Bolivia on Thursday rejected U.S. President Joe Biden’s claims the prior day that the countries had failed to meet counternarcotics obligations.

In a memo released by the White House, Biden said the two South American countries had not improved their efforts over the prior 12 months. U.S. officials have long accused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other top authorities of involvement in drug trafficking, which they deny.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia accused Washington of behaving like a “supranational police of sovereign and independent states.”

“Venezuela complies strictly with the requirements of international conventions on the control of psychotropic and narcotic substances,” read the statement.

Maduro, a socialist and staunch critic of the United States, has long maintained that Venezuela is a victim of the violence surrounding drug trafficking because of its lengthy, porous border with Colombia, one of the largest cocaine-producing countries in the world.

Bolivian Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo said leftist President Luis Arce’s government had managed to eradicate more than 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres)of coca plants, the main raw material to make cocaine, and had taken down criminal organizations.

“We reject this report because it has been prepared unilaterally,” del Castillo told reporters, adding that the United States had not conducted research inside the country as multilateral organizations focused on combating drug trafficking tend to do.

“We have a strategy, we have a plan, and we have the mission of a full fight against drug trafficking.”

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago in Caracas and Daniel Ramos in in La Paz; Writing by Luc Cohen)

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