Venezuela Hosts More Traffickers Than It Admits | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Venezuela Hosts More Traffickers Than It Admits

Corruption and deceit mean Venezuela's role as major drug hub is under-reported.


The border state of Apure is a "haven" of drug
trafficking. Photo via

By May Wilkerson


| Share

The Venezuelan state of Apure is one of the busiest hubs for cocaine trafficked out of Colombia, which it borders. Security forces claim to be making progress there, seizing cocaine and dismantling airstrips in their fight against organized crime. "We are hitting drug trafficking hard all the time,” says Ramón Carrizalez, the governor of Apure. "Very few countries are carrying out a policy like ours." But local residents paint a different picture, saying that the area is inundated with low-flying planes, and is actually ruled by the FARC revolutionary guerrilla organization, which oversees drug shipments. The guerrillas reportedly intimidate local residents, collecting protection money from local businesses, ranchers and fishing camps along stretches of the Venezuela/Colombia border. “We all knew what was going on," says one citizen, referring to traffickers' control of the state's airstrips, "but no one said anything. What were we going to do about it? The one that should be doing something is the government. They should be constantly patrolling the area.” Luis Lippa, a former governor of Apure, agrees. “Our airspace has been taken over,” he says. “Our national territory has been reduced.”

Although the US has collaborated with governments in Mexico, Honduras and Colombia to crack down on drug trafficking, an antagonistic relationship with leftist President Hugo Chavez has hampered such efforts in Venezuela. Back in September, President Obama designated the country as failing to meet its obligation to crack down on organized drug crime, citing a federal report that says Venezuela is "one of the preferred trafficking routes out of South America" and has a "generally permissive and corrupt environment." In 2010, an estimated 24% of the cocaine shipped out of South America—over 200 tons—passed through Venezuela, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
PMS: A Natural Threat to Sobriety

I remember slamming things around the kitchen one night and feeling like I’d lost my mind. I was angry about something so minor, I literally can’t remember what it was and I don’t know that I knew then either

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv