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Quayle Says in Venezuela Drug War Makes Little Headway

August 5, 1991

MACUTO, Venezuela (AP) _ Vice President Dan Quayle said Monday that the United States had made little headway in its war against drug-trafficking in Latin America.

″We are not going to be satisfied until we lick the problem,″ Quayle said, pledging continued aid to Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and other Latin American nations trying to curb the flow of drugs into the United States.

Quayle, accompanied by Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher, is on a tour aimed at strengthening U.S. trade and investment in the region under the Bush administration’s Enterprise for the Americas initiative. Among the leaders in U.S. finance and business in Quayle’s entourage was David Rockefeller.

The four-nation trip includes Argentina, Brazil and Haiti.

The vice president was asked about the drug war after four hours of talks with President Carlos Andres Perez at the presidential retreat in this north coast resort.

Venezuela has become a major base for drug operations, partly as a result of a government crackdown in neighboring Colombia that forced traffickers to find alternate sea and land routes to Europe and the United States.

Quayle said both presidents Bush and Perez ″are committed to an all-out war against drugs.″ He said progress had been made in some drug-war areas such as education, rehabilitation, eradication and interdiction.

But he said the problem ″is not an easy one. It’s not one that we have made a tremendous amount of headway.″

Quayle said he and Perez also agreed that Cuba must embrace democracy and halt human-rights abuses and support for foreign revolutionary groups before relations could improve with the rest of the Americas.

Mosbacher and Venezuelan officials signed two accords granting Venezuela $1 million to improve its potable water network and upgrade aviation.

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