World December 4, 2020 | 10:36 am

Joint Communique by Officials of the Government of the United States and the Interim Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Released by the US Embassy in Santo Domingo.- “We, the Government of the United States and the Interim Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, recognize the degradation of rule of law in Venezuela due to the illegitimate Maduro regime’s lack of will  to stop drug trafficking and root out the criminal elements that exploit every corner of Venezuela.  We assess that Nicolas Maduro, the illegitimate Venezuelan dictator and drug kingpin, represents a danger for the stability of the whole region, not just Venezuela.  To promote security for the Venezuelan people and our hemisphere, Maduro’s illegitimate narco-regime should be held accountable and face justice for its crimes.

“To this end, our two governments remain committed to stemming the transshipment of drugs via Venezuela, preventing illicit drug cultivation and consumption, combating the endemic corruption of regime officials, and impeding the money laundering and criminal networks related to the illegal trade of commodities.

“On November 24, 2020, we gathered with like-minded countries for a working meeting on addressing transnational crime, narcotrafficking, and other related illicit activities facilitated by the lack of rule of law in Venezuela.  Following this meeting, the Government of the United States and the Interim Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expressed support for the following cooperation principles:” Underscoring our commitment to the principles enshrined in the UN drug treaties, including the 1961 Convention, as amended, the 1971 Convention, and the 1988 Convention;

“Enhancing information sharing on illicit narcotics; contraband; illegal minerals; trafficking in persons, including forced labor, forced criminality, sex trafficking, and the forced recruitment of children into armed conflict; and money laundering trends and investigations;

“Pursuing regional cooperation to combat narcotics production and trafficking, trafficking in persons in all its forms, and related criminality;

“Continuing sanctions that target key individuals engaged in narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and other criminal activities to limit their international movement and financial transactions;

“Subscribing to evidence-based drug demand reduction policies focused on drug use prevention and treatment, including the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders;

“Reaffirming anticorruption obligations made under the UN Convention against Corruption and Inter-American Convention against Corruption;

“Advancing the principles of partnership, informal cooperation, transparency, and accountability in recovery of stolen assets;

“Pledging to cooperate against all forms of transnational organized crime and reaffirming our commitments made under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its relevant protocols; in particular, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children; and

“Recognizing the need to build the capacity of relevant authorities in order to improve the public security within Venezuela and take the aforementioned actions against the crime and corruption that have emerged from Venezuela due to the lack of rule of law under illegitimate president Nicolas Maduro.”