bird icon for twitter

Venezuela continues to kowtow to US Drug Policy

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

September 19, 2022

hen I first saw the headline, I rejoiced: " Venezuela rejected U.S. memorandum on drugs!" Finally, a South American country that has decided to think for itself. Venezuela has decided to stop playing along with the imperialist Drug War and now it's going to stop demonizing naturally occurring substances like coca, which the natives of South America considered to be divine. From now on, the Venezuelans will educate their people rather than arresting them for using the bounty of Mother Nature. No more will they give the US an excuse to intervene at will in the sovereign affairs of Venezuela! This is great, right?

Wrong. True, Hugo Chavez kicked the DEA out of Venezuela in 2005, but the article tells us that his country has since used "sovereign policies" to carry out "the largest seizures and confiscations in history." In other words, the Venezuelan government has no problem whatsoever in running roughshod over their citizens' naturally given right to access the medicines of Mother Nature. It just wants to be the one to break heads, rather than leaving it up to the Americans, whom they rightly suspect of wanting to interfere in local politics, with an eye toward rendering the country a satellite plutocracy of the United States of America. How can the US achieve this goal? Answer: by demonizing the coca leaf, ostensibly in the name of public health, but actually in the name of weaponizing the Monroe Doctrine and facilitating the advance of unbridled capitalism across the South American continent.

This disdain for the coca plant dates back to the Spanish invasion of Peru, at which point the locals were considered slaves and their customs, such as coca-leaf chewing, were considered foolish and superstitious. The Spanish even tried for a time to eradicate the plant entirely, but finally realized that their slave population could perform prodigious amounts of work only in a world in which coca use was allowed. Westerners raised the alarm again about coca use in the 19th and 20th centuries, not because they had new information about coca leaf addiction, which was and is extremely rare, but rather because they started judging the coca plant based on the problematic use of the coca alkaloid called cocaine. The coca leaf and cocaine are very different things (indeed the best coca leaves, according to Peruvian natives, often contain relatively small amounts of cocaine), but that never stopped the western Drug Warrior from demonizing the former for the alleged sins of the latter.

Of course, even cocaine, like opium, can be used wisely -- that is to say intermittently -- but this is a fact that the Drug Warrior does not want us to know, let alone to act on by actually educating potential users. For the Drug war has always been about punishing users, not enlightening them. Indeed, Biden's office of National Drug Policy is forbidden via its charter to even consider potential positive uses of criminalized substances. They NEED folks to OD and to become addicted so that the government can shout triumphantly, thanks to a self-fulfilling prophecy: "See? I told you those drugs were awful!"

But the Venezuelans can't connect the dots. Or perhaps their leaders do not wish to see beyond the anti-scientific blather of the Drug Warrior, because they rightly sense that a world without a Drug War would be a world in which they can no longer come up with good reasons for viciously cracking down on internal dissent.

Suggested reading:

Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas by W. Golden Mortimer, PhD

Venezuela Rejected US Memorandum on Drugs

The Coca Museum

September 19, 2022
Big fans of Coca Wine included HG Wells, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas and Henrik Ibsen. The drink was about enjoying coca, not cocaine -- tho' Drug Warriors ban it based on its cocaine alkaloid -- which, as author W. Golden Mortimer points out, is like banning peaches because they contain prussic acid.

Next essay: Sherlock Holmes versus Gabriel Maté
Previous essay: Drug War Uber Alles

More Essays Here


Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."

essays about

How to end the war in Mexico, stop inner-city killings and cure depression in one easy step

front cover of Drug War Comic Book

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by the Drug War Philosopher Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans

You have been reading an article entitled, Venezuela continues to kowtow to US Drug Policy published on September 19, 2022 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)