Venezuela, Colombia Sign Drug Cooperation Pact

By Dialogo
January 28, 2011

Venezuelan and Colombian ministers met in Venezuela on 26 January to sign an agreement to jointly fight drug trafficking, in a sign of warming relations between the two nations often at odds with one another.

Venezuela’s Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami and Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said the pact provides “assistance and information exchange to dismantle criminal groups, control of chemicals used to produce narcotics and efforts to prevent money laundering.”

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez will meet soon, at a date yet to be set, to further expand relations and endorse the agreements reached by their ministers in a number of fields, officials said.

Known as the Canaima Act, the agreement also calls for joint operations “by land, sea and air” to combat the scourge of drug trafficking.

“We’ve achieved significant results in a short period time against these criminal groups,” said El Aissami, noting a number of arrests and drug seizures stemming from intelligence sharing.

The two countries have enjoyed warming relations in recent months, since the election of Santos, who restored diplomatic ties with Venezuela.

Relations had broken down in July 2010 after then-Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe accused Caracas of harboring leftist Colombian rebels.