Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has proposed legislation to allow the military to shoot down suspected drug trafficking planes.
In a televised speech on Thursday, the Venezuelan leader argued in favor of a law allowing the military to shoot down planes which refuse to land when asked. He said that this would discourage traffickers from transporting drugs through Venezuelan airspace.
Chavez said that Venezuelan military planes sometimes follow aircraft suspected of transporting drugs and order them to land, but that the pilots often ignored the orders, leaving the military powerless to stop them.
Venezuela has become an important transport route for traffickers transporting drugs into the United States and Europe. The U.S. government has criticized Chavez’s government for taking inadequate action to prevent drugs being trafficked through Venezuela.