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dialogues, proposals, stories for global citizenship

Johan Obdola, a life dedicated to the struggle against narco-traffic in the countries of Latin-America

To fight against drug, is the aim that Johan Obdola wants to reach. The problem of drug is not simple and touches economic, political and social fields. It is impossible to put an end to the "cartels", if there is no true political will and a collaboration between countries.

12 / 2001

It is the story of a man, who put his life at risk, and still put it in danger in the name of his thought and the well-being of his country. I had been moved by his story, his quiet courage and his modesty.

Obdola Johan is venezualian and struggles against drug problems in his country. In 1993, he was called up by his government to be at the head of local direction for the prevention and the eduction about drug, the programme of repression by police and army against narco-traffic. His action was to receive and to decode the reports of the venezualian secret service and to coordinate the actions, which would have to be led with the police and the army. However his work was not only administrative, Johan got involved on the field but also led affairs. On this man’s side is really well shown in the sentence he told me : "during the operations, I did thought that, despite what they did, it was important to respect their rights, because after all they are still human being"

In order to achieve his work, he trained with the venezualian police, with the "Drug Enforcement Administration" of the United States and the american Marines. he worked also with Scotland Yard, the canadian police and a european programm of chemical control. His role was to coordinate and to lead the venezualian military forces and police. The other aspect of his work is to get in touch with different persons who were involved in the struggle against narco-traffic. At first his work only focused on Venezuela but later on his function led him to get involved at a international level.

In fact, drug traffic was not only a problem of publich health care, but appears in fact trully in these terms. It is a problem that depends not only on the configuration of drug criminal organization (les cartels) and the foreign policy of the country... The growing influence of narco-traffic can be expliqued with three reasons. Firstly, in the past, it was "quite easy" to struggle against "cartels", because they were territorially located. Nowadays, they are sprawling organizations, which spread their roots in Asia, Europe, Africa... For example, the narco-traffic groups in Colombia work hand in hand with the russian maffia and the IRA (Irish Republican Army). That is why they are building an international network which give them more power and nearly make their apprehension. According to Johan Obdola, "in the past, at least, we knew where and against whom to struggle, because drug "cartels" were well known by the current government. Nevertheless the deal has chnaged, there is a real globalization of the "cartels".

The other reason for the growth of traffic depends on the foreign policy with latin-America, which does not wish to struggle efficiently against drug. This countries according to Johan Obdola do not have the means to insert themselves in international weapon businnes. To buy on the market, would be too expensive for them. The military or economic aids are far from giving a solution to the problem but even make it worse. For exemple, explained Johan Abdola "if i do not belong to Latin America army and that i aim to solve the problem of narco traffic in a ferm way that would have corollary to not to receive aid from United states that is why, Latin american counties do not entirely fight against Narco-dealers. They pretend of course to fight but it’s just to obtain subsides from USA which could stop giving them weapons at low prices the best way to receive weapons is to claim that it is to activly fight against drug.

At last the last reason and maybe the worse is that lots of leaders are involved in drug traffics. There are big pressures on persons who decide to fight against the problem of drug. The economic involments are so big that it can appear to be impossible to implement a real policy of struggle. What Johan Obdola whishes is the implentation of an international court of justice to solve the problems of narco traffics and the homogenisation of american and european policies. Indeed for thre moment, there are even divergences. It is this condition which will allow to fight efficiently against the problem of drug traffic.

Since 1996 Johan Abdola is a refugee in Canada because with his inquires he understood that lots of judicial and political elites were involved in the in the cartel (Complaisance and bribes) he dennounced this fact in the national congress from this moment he received several threatens of death and he escaped attacks that ithe reason why he had to leave however, he will soon go back to venezuela and when, i asked him if what he was about to do was dangerous he told me "I am not a hero, i just did what i have to do there are a lot of persons who did the same thing and we don’t talk about them. If we don’t do anything, the problem of drug will never be solved. That is why i return to venzuela. it’s my country i love it and know that i can be usefull over there even thought i put my life in danger. I would like to support the persons i met at the World asssembly of citizens. Because i want to struggle against drug but not in a represive way but in a deterant one"

Key words

refugee, public health, foreign policy, geopolitics of drugs

, África, Russia, Asia, South America, Latin America


It’s surprising to see this man talking with such a conviction of what he did he dedicated his life to the struggle against drug. what to add, he is just amazing for his courage and his modesty, i really want underline this character who is for me the symbole of the modern hero.


Interview with Obdola Johan. English translation from french

This file was made in an interview at the World Assembly, Lille, France, dec.2001.

Interview with OBDOLA, Johann



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