Mexico, Colombia Meet U.S. Anti-Drug Standards 

Mexico, Colombia Meet U.S. Anti-Drug Standards 
Posted by FoM on March 01, 2000 at 21:09:52 PT
From Staff and Wire Reports
Source: CNN 
The Clinton administration has given its official blessing to anti-drug efforts in most of the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico and Colombia -- the two largest sources of illegal narcotics for U.S. users.  Each year, the administration must certify whether 26 countries involved in producing or shipping narcotics have cooperated with U.S. drug control efforts. Countries deemed uncooperative face international aid and trade sanctions. 
In Wednesday's announcement, the administration withheld full certification to Myanmar and Afghanistan, both major sources of heroin. Haiti, Paraguay, Nigeria and Cambodia won conditional certification. The administration granted those three countries "national interest waivers" that acknowledge difficult domestic circumstances. U.S. approval is critical to the future of joint efforts in the cases of Mexico -- the main conduit for U.S.-bound illegal drugs -- and Colombia, where the Clinton administration is promoting a $1.6 billion aid package to help the country fight cocaine production and trafficking. Congress will conduct hearings on the administration report later this spring. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina, and House International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin Gilman, R-New York, said last week they want to see Mexico "decertified" as an anti-drug partner, but Congress has never done so. The certification announcement comes as Mexico struggles to rein in the violence and corruption associated with the drug trade, and as Colombia battles both traffickers and leftist guerrillas that the government says protect the country's cocaine-producing regions. The aid package for Colombia "is designed to help law-abiding Colombians reclaim their country" from drug traffickers and the leftist guerrillas who protect the country's coca crop, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said. But it faces hard questions in the U.S. Congress, where critics fear it will pave the way for American military involvement in that country's civil war. The aid would go mostly to Colombia's military, but some would be used to help reform the country's judiciary and to foster economic alternatives to coca production, which grew sharply in 1999, said Barry McCaffrey, chief of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. "The (Colombian) government's ambitious eradication campaign, to date, has met with heavy resistance from traffickers and armed insurgents," Albright said. The administration report praised a drop in coca production in the Andean nations of South America, saying Peru and Bolivia have cut coca production by more than half since 1995. $37 Billion a Year Market: U.S. officials offered words of support for Mexico, where drug traffickers are suspected in the weekend slaying of Tijuana Police Chief Alfredo de la Torre. "These people are serious, they're scared, they've spent a huge amount of money," McCaffrey said. "They're spending a higher per capita percentage basis of their budget on counter-drug activities than the United States is." Mexico's certification is routinely controversial. Critics have long contended that Mexico shares Washington's political goals, but that law enforcement does little to stem the drug trade. And some Mexican observers say the country's stepped-up anti-drug efforts largely are an effort to appease Washington. "I've seen no indications that Mexico is trying to formulate a coherent drug policy," said Luis Astorga, a drug policy analyst at Mexico's National Autonomous University. De la Torre was Tijuana's second police chief killed in six years. Just days earlier, Juan Angel Cabrera Leal -- the police chief in Reynosa, another border city -- had been shot to death. McCaffrey said the United States should help Mexico fight a problem its drug habit fuels. "I think they are deadly serious about trying to stand up to this," he said. "The biggest problem Mexico faces is, we've got $37 billion a year the United States is spending on cocaine. That is fueling a blowtorch of corruption and violence directed against Mexico's democratic institutions, and I think they're fighting for their future." Some Mexicans say they suffer from drug-related violence, especially on the border, largely because the United States has done little to reduce its consumption of illegal drugs. Others resent what they see as the United States passing judgment on their country. "U.S. consumption is the magnet for all the drug trafficking we are suffering," Mexican Congressman Julio Faesler said. U.S. authorities estimate the United States consumes roughly 25 percent of the world's cocaine, with a third of the world's production intercepted by authorities. About 55 percent of U.S. consumption arrives via Mexico, McCaffrey estimated. 'It's a Massive Threat' The administration directed its worst criticism in the annual report at Afghanistan and Myanmar, formerly Burma. "For several years now, Afghanistan and Burma have been world headquarters for the heroin business," Albright said. "This past year they retained that deadly dishonor." Only bad weather limited the production of opium used to produce heroin there, she said. "Ordinary citizens enjoy less freedom than drug lords, with the military junta (in Myanmar) still refusing to surrender notorious traffickers under indictment in the United States," she said. In Afghanistan, the ruling Islamic militia, the Taliban, has sanctioned the production of opium by taxing its distribution and harvest. "It's a massive threat, not to the United States primarily, but to Europe and the former Soviet Union states and indeed to the region," McCaffrey said. McCaffrey added that he thinks the certification process "ill serves our U.S. national purpose" in the Americas. He said he would rather see anti-drug cooperation run through the Organization of American States. Mexico City Bureau Chief Harris Whitbeck and The Associated Press contributed to this report.Washington (CNN) Web Posted: March 1, 2000   2000 Cable News Network. 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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on March 02, 2000 at 07:48:18 PT
Well, we're drug producers, too
It always makes me laugh a little ruefully when I hear MISTER McCaffrey or clueless people like Albright talking about the drug scourge that certain foreign nations represent to our innocent shores. Yet, they always conveniently forget the one drug export the United States absolutely excells at, and it is a drug that has killed tens of millions since its' introduction to the world by the US. The industry that processes and markets that drug has enjoyed massive government subsidies. And to this day, enjoys widespread distribution, despite its' known lethal properties. Think about it: What is the single greatest addictive drug in the world? Meth? Nope. Heroin? Uh-uh. Could it be...nicotine?It's an absolute wonder why the countries that harbor the very drug cartels McC and Co. scream about don't themselves engage in a little propagandistic legerdemain and point the finger right back here for trying to export a very American form of deathmongering.Hypocrisy. Always hypocrisy. And the hypocrites never seem to tumble to their own flaws.
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Comment #1 posted by Emmett Fleener on March 02, 2000 at 04:54:25 PT
trout fishing in Columbia
Good Grief!! I am dazzled and shocked to hear the Czars' comments.It seems so "Orwellian",,we somehow ended up with a "Czar",and he happens to be a General,,,a "crush the enemy" warmonger,,,,and somehow we are almost ready to spend 1.6 Billion tax dollars,to start a war,that is as absurd and brutal as Chechnya,,,and no one is that concerned. American public opinion is being manipulated in a way that would make L. Ron Hubbard jealous. This is disgusting........E.F. 
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