U.S. Drug Czar Hails Latin Nations

U.S. Drug Czar Hails Latin Nations
Posted by CN Staff on August 13, 2002 at 18:31:31 PT
By Laurie Kellman, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
American drug czar John Walters said Tuesday that freshly-minted governments in Bolivia and Colombia will inject new strength into the fight against drugs and terrorism."I think we have a unique consensus today about how we need to work together to seize the future," Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told reporters in Washington.
"I think that there is a common understanding that especially the revenues of the drug trade are particularly susceptible to support of terrorist organizations and organizations that undermine the lawful order in countries."The narco-terror link, touted in a series of advertisements, has been the centerpiece of the Bush administration's anti-drug message in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.Colombian, Peruvian and other officials, Walters said, "expressed their desire to work more closely with us on counternarcotics matters and the need to provide a regional attack, if not a hemispheric attack, on the trade."Just back from the inaugurations of presidents Alvaro Uribe of Colombia and Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada of Bolivia, Walters praised the new governments for recognizing the link and promising action despite the brutal nature of the drug cartels that operate within their borders.Uribe, whose festivities were shadowed by violence, has shown particular courage in instructing his new administration, Walters said."They face an enormously difficult task, but I found them to be some of the bravest, smartest and most dedicated people it's ever been my pleasure to work with in government," Walters said."The new government understands that this is not just a security matter," he added. "It's about re-establishing the cohesiveness of Colombian society and making the institutions work for everybody, and that's the right answer.""I think there is, if anything, a wide, wide consensus that this is a regional problem," Walters added.Uribe has taken a hard line against rebels in his country, vowing "unconventional, transparent and imaginative solutions" to wipe out rebels who have been fighting in the South American nation for 38 years.Uribe's inauguration Wednesday was rocked by explosions killing 14 people in nearby neighborhoods. Three blasts ignited a few blocks away as Uribe entered a parliament building to take the oath of office.In Bolivia a day earlier, Sanchez de Lozada took office with a call for unity after he narrowly beat Evo Morales, a leader of farmers who grow cocoa, a base ingredient of cocaine.On the Net: Source: Associated Press Author: Laurie Kellman, Associated PressPublished: Tuesday, August 13, 2002Copyright: 2002 Associated Press Related Articles:Explosions Rattle Colombia Before Inaugural The Drug War Commits to War Against Drugs 
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