Caracas, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday accused the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of using its agents for espionage in his country, and said Venezuela was suspending cooperation with the U.S. agency.
Chavez, who regularly accuses the U.S. government of plotting against him, said "the DEA isn't absolutely necessary for the fight against drug trafficking."
U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield said last week that the United States had hoped to maintain cooperative anti-drug efforts in Venezuela, and that without them "there is only one group that wins, and that group is the drug traffickers."
But Chavez maintains that the DEA has been using the fight against drugs as a pretext to gather intelligence on Venezuela.
"The DEA was using the fight against drug trafficking as a mask, to support drug trafficking, to carry out intelligence in Venezuela against the government," Chavez said.