CARACAS, Thursday June 24, 2010 | Update
The report highlighted that drug trafficking situation in Venezuela appears to be deteriorating (File photo)
Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are three of the most affected countries by cocaine trafficking, while Venezuela has become the main source of transit trafficking of cocaine to Europe, according to the World Drug Report 2010, released by the United Nations on Wednesday.
The report also stressed the "deterioration" of the war on drug trafficking in Venezuela, which was "the starting point of more than half of all intercepted shipments of cocaine in the Atlantic over the 2006-2008," while "direct shipments from Colombia accounted for just 5 percent of the total."
The report added that according to US estimates some 70 percent of the cocaine leaves Colombia via the Pacific, 20 percent via the Atlantic and 10 percent via Venezuela and the Caribbean.
Venezuela would be the point of origin of "all the clandestine air shipments of cocaine detected in West Africa" and appears to be the source of cocaine flown to clandestine airstrips in Honduras, AP reported.
Besides having one of the highest murder rates in the world and a significant increase in kidnappings, the report noted the existence of insurgent groups such as the Bolivarian Liberation Front and the civilian militias established by the government. "Experience in other countries has shown that such a move can fuel organized crime."
The report stated that between 2006 and 2008, "over half the maritime shipments of cocaine to Europe detected came from Venezuela."
With regard to the use of "ecstasy," experts from South America reported a stable trend in the use of the drug. Estimates for Venezuela for 2005 were revised downward (from 0.2 percent in 2001 to less than 0.01 percent in 2005.)
Although drug trafficking violence in Mexico attracts a lot of attention in the media, the paper stressed that El Salvador Honduras and Guatemala have "murder rates between three to five times higher than in Mexico, and both the economy and the state are far less robust and resilient."
Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.