At last, a clear victory in the drug wars!
Authorities from Venezuela and French Guiana seized 3.3 U.S. tons of cocaine aboard a Venezuelan-flagged fishing boat 400 miles east of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean sea, according to the Associated Press....
But not all is well. Cooperation has all but ceased between the US and Venezuela:
President Chavez accused U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials operating in Venezuela, of spying and of over-stepping their authority. U.S. officials rejected the accusations, charging instead that Venezuela was not cooperating well with DEA agents.
Last Monday, Venezuelan Vice-President José Vicente Rangel said that his country would no longer give diplomatic immunity to DEA agents in Venezuela, and that it might deny visas to U.S. citizens.
Now, a cynic might say that the US is sore because Venezuela is interfering in US financing of insurgencies and paramilitaries. Like it or not, it's impossible to read Inspector General Fred Hitz's report on drug smuggling in Iran-Contra and not conclude that drugs were to flow north as a payoff to people smuggling guns south. But even the worst cynic would find it hard to believe that the executive director of "an association of publishers and editors with 1,380 members, including some of the largest dailies in North and South America" would respond to the question
Q: [D]o you support freedom of the press to participate--in other words, publishers or TV journalists or owners of the media ... --participate in plotting with the military in overthrowing a democratic government?
The interview is bizarre, and worth reading. Extracting the substance from the rest of what the cow was fed:
Q: What is the position of the IAPA on the media support for the coup in Venezuela?
A: In the case of Venezuela we ... feel ... that the freedom of the press is under attack, is under threat from the government.
Q: I'm not talking about positions, I'm talking about plotting with the military to overthrow a democratic government.
A: Well, yes, of course. I don't see anything wrong with any particular person that can have opposition against a military government.
Q: Excuse me, I'm talking about plotting with the military to overthrow a democratically elected government.
A: Can you reword your question because I don't follow you...
And of course, there's the obligatory linkage between IAPA and Animal Farm... er, I mean, Freedom House.
Reading this kind of stuff, one gets the sense that what the US establishment hates most about Chavez is that he's actually doing
the stuff the US claims
to be doing... and in the process, actually prosecuting the drug war and preventing oil companies from committing state-sponsored socialism.
Update: and now Pat Robertson has called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez. When last heard from, he was advocated using nuclear weapons against the American Congress.
It's a shame that the FBI is off chasing "ecoterrorists," since Robertson precisely fits the definition of a terrorist, i.e., someone who attempts to alter government actions through threats against civilians. And unlike bin Laden and other terrorists, he has unprecedented access to media.