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Venezuela is lagging behind in the fight against regional crime

Venezuela is lagging behind in the fight against regional crime

Chile’s Interior Minister Carolina Doha, who is serving as interim president this week, speaks during an interview Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Santiago, Chile. Photographer: Tamara Merino/Bloomberg

As Latin America faces the threat of international gangs, the Chilean government will press Venezuela to step up its fight against crime, a senior cabinet member said in an interview.

By Bloomberg

Cooperation with countries such as Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia has produced results, Carolina Doha told Bloomberg’s office in Santiago. He said Chile needs Venezuela to provide information on citizens suspected of domestic criminal activity and to help capture suspects who have fled abroad.

“There are strategies with the whole region, and with some countries it’s easier than others,” Doha said. “It’s complicated with Venezuela.”

Doha, head of state Gabriel Borik, who is the country’s interior minister and interim president this week, is on an official trip abroad as the government prepares for heavy rains in the center and south of the country.

Doha leads the government’s crime-fighting strategy and is one of Chile’s most influential and experienced ministers. His responsibilities in local politics are very challenging. Gangs affiliated with the Tren de Aragua criminal organization, which emerged in Venezuela, weigh heavily on the administration’s support, raising fears among voters that violence is spiraling out of control.

“The Aragua train has reached Latin America as a whole,” he said. “In Venezuela there is a theory that they eliminated the gang hierarchy. But the reality is that we have seen how organized crime is very dynamic.

Doha, a former lower house representative and spokesman for Michel Bachelet’s government, said Chile would keep channels open and seek solutions with the Venezuelan government. Chile will also present its views before international organizations.

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“Venezuela has certain international obligations with us and it must comply at the multilateral level,” Doha said.

The Venezuelan government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The development of the Aragua train is closely linked to the exodus of more than 7 million Venezuelans over the past decade. Countries such as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile have expressed concerns about smuggling, drug trafficking and killings.

Last week, the government sent a note of protest to Nicolas Maduro’s administration after lawyer Tarek William Saab accused Chilean intelligence officials of involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Venezuelan political refugee Ronald Ojeda earlier this year. Chile has said Venezuela does not want to help with the murder investigation.

To read the full note, Here