Venezuela's Government Essay

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Venezuela's Government

Venezuela is a major transit country for cocaine usually processed in Colombia. Law enforcement agencies estimate that over 100 metric tons of cocaine transit Venezuela annually. There are some indications that the quantity of drugs transiting Venezuela is increasing and that smuggling of Colombian heroin is a growing problem. Narcotics-related corruption remained a problem in legal and financial systems and within security forces. Moreover, the Venezuelan authorities need to do more to combat diversion of chemical precursors and money laundering and to address the problem of over-flights by drug trafficking aircraft. Venezuela continued to be a major drug transit country in 1998. Most large scale drug
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Actions by the Government of Venezuela (GOV) to enhance counter narcotics efforts included. programs to implement a major reform of the judicial system due to enter into force in mid-1999, establishment of a central Financial Intelligence Unit, adoption of a unified regulatory system for essential chemicals, and passage of a new customs law. Efforts to gain passage of a Comprehensive Anti-Organized Crime Bill were ultimately unsuccessful when the Senate failed to pass the bill before Congress adjourned for elections. U.S.-Venezuela bilateral counternarcotics cooperation continued in the political and law enforcement arenas.
In 1998, Venezuela established a new regulatory structure to control essential chemicals subject to diversion. The Government has acknowledged that Venezuelan financial institutions and other sectors of the economy are vulnerable to laundering of drug profits. U.S. Customs Service's Operation "Casablanca" identified Venezuela as one of the routes by which Colombian narco-traffickers repatriate drug proceeds. In 1998, the Government began to enforce the 1997 currency transaction reporting regulations and began to investigate suspicious financial transactions. Some of these investigations were developed in conjunction with U.S. law enforcement agencies. The

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