Chavez Linked to Columbian Drug Trade

FARC guerrillas run cocaine through Venezuela
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2008 2:19 PM CST
A soldier checks packed cocaine seized in Cucuta, northeastern Colombia, Thursday, May 3, 2007 while four detainees stand behind him. The packages are part of 150 pounds of cocaine seized by the Colombian...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Hugo Chavez recently grabbed headlines by brokering the release of two women held hostage by FARC, Colombia's guerrilla rebels. But Chavez was no neutral mediator: FARC operates openly in Venezuela, and even hand-in-hand with government agencies, both to wage war in Colombia and smuggle Colombian cocaine into Europe, the Guardian reports.

Venezuela is integral to FARC’s cocaine pipeline, shipping 30% of the 600 tons of cocaine smuggled out of Colombia each year. The shipments are aided and abetted by powerful figures in Venezuela, who also provide rebels with guns and military support. “Venezuela is the temple of drug trafficking,” said one Columbian drug lord.