Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on the US ambassador in Caracas to retract his assertion that drug trafficking in the country is rising.

Mr Chavez said the comments were absolutely false and that a retraction would demonstrate that Washington is serious about wanting good relations.

William Brownfield said poor police collaboration was making Venezuela a preferred drug route to the Caribbean.

The comments follow recent improvements in relations between the two countries.

Mr Chavez said the US ambassador’s claims were “a lack of respect for the truth” and said they were “absolutely false”.

The president blamed US drug consumption for the problem and accused the US of turning from communism to the drug war to justify its military presence in the region.

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