Colombia and Venezuela Agree to Intensify Fight Against Drugs

By Dialogo
February 14, 2012

On February 10, Colombia and Venezuela agreed to conduct coordinated operations against drug trafficking, as part of binational security programs that include confronting kidnapping, extortion, and illegal armed groups.

The agreement was reached during a meeting in Colombia between the defense ministers of both countries, as part of the process of normalizing relations between their governments after a 2010 diplomatic crisis that originated in security issues.

“It was a frank and friendly meeting; we’re reactivating our mechanisms of trust, and we’re working to confront transnational crime together,” Colombian Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón said.

This was Pinzón’s first meeting with his counterpart, General Henry Rangel, named to that post by President Hugo Chávez.

“To the extent that we see results, trust between the two countries will continue to be increased,” Pinzón stated, upon revealing that the Colombian and Venezuelan Air Forces will conduct simultaneous operations to intercept drug planes that move between the two countries.

Another of the fronts on which the two countries will move forward will be the fight against kidnapping, with a protocol that was established to enable a joint reaction by the authorities in response to the report of a kidnapping along their shared border, the Colombian official revealed.

For his part, Rangel said that the two countries took a step toward putting an end to “myths” that have damaged bilateral relations.

Colombia and Venezuela share a 2,219-kilometer land border, along which the presence of guerrillas and criminal gangs dedicated to drug trafficking and made up of former ultra-right-wing paramilitaries is reported.