The U.S. is unaware of the progress and policies made to advance the fight against drugs, Bolivian Foreign Minister Diego Pary said Saturday.
Bolivia says it rejects the slanderous accusations made by the U.S. in its recent report where it alleged the South American country had breached the bylines of an international anti-drug initiative.
In a memorandum released Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump listed 20 countries his administration says are either major transit, or illicit drug-producing countries. He named Bolivia and Venezuela as having failed to honor their obligations of the international anti-narcotics agreement to minimize drug trafficking over the last 12 months.
Bolivian Foreign Minister Diego Pary denounced these accusations, saying that, unlike many international studies, the U.S. “only uses criteria that is unilateral, from the U.S. perspective.
"The U.S. does it maliciously, it does not value the results that Bolivia has achieved, which have been recognized by multilateral agencies," said the official asserted.
Pary said the U.S. is unaware of the progress and policies made to advance the fight against drugs and to establish a traditional and regulated production of coca leaf crops in Bolivia.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has defended his region’s coca production in the past for its traditional, medicinal and cultural uses. The ancestral plant has been historically used by Indigenous peoples for strength and energy and many in the country chew the leaves raw or use them to make tea.
Pary reminded U.S. officials that Bolivia's anti-drug policy has been recognized by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Unodc), being "a model that has presented effective results and it is worth recognizing beyond the political interests of the United States."
Among the countries listed on the U.S. report were: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted a government response to the U.S. accusation Saturday afternoon, saying the U.S. was to blame for the illicit drug problem across the Americas. "Venezuela once again rejects the immoral and interventional practice of the United States, including Venezuela in its hypocritical list of major producing countries ... of illicit drugs. They are responsible," asserted Arreaza. The official statement reads that the country captured over 700,000 of drugs between 2005 and 2018, doing its part to take care of the transport of drugs in Venezuela. Arreaza says that 90 percent of the drugs found in Venezuela originate from Colombia.
Trump defended Colombia’s “progress” and developments of an aerial eradication program, using Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, in the agricultural regions. However, for years, activists and environmental experts have warned against the chemical’s negative health impacts.
According to the L.A. Times, the U.S. government has spent some US$10 billion in its Plan Colombia to counter coca and cocaine production and trafficking in the South American country since the year 2000. At the same time, U.S. consumers make up 92 percent of Colombia’s cocaine market.
Trump's Saturday announcement mirrors a Sept. 2017 accusation he made against Bolivia and Venezuela for supposedly not combatting drugs, while also praising Colombia.