Drug trafficking greatest threat to Latin American countries today, UN hears

Laura Chinchilla Miranda, President of Costa Rica

23 September 2011 – Costa Rica and El Salvador, two countries highly affected by drug-related violence in recent years, have urged the United Nations to help fight drug cartels and organized crime, and called on Member States with high numbers of drug consumers to take the lead on the issue.

“Our region has become prey to malevolent geopolitics,” Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda told the General Assembly’s annual general debate last night.

“As a result of our location between the largest centres of production and demand in the world, we have become a target to the dynamic of death that they both create, and we must bear the burden of extraordinary material, institutional and human costs What for the main perpetrators of these atrocities are mere ‘collateral damages,’ for Central Americans represent extreme challenges and deep wounds.”

Ms. Chinchilla added: “From here stems our greatest frustration. Thus we demand that the international community, in particular the greatest consumers of drugs and suppliers of arms that materialize the violence, assume completely and without further delay, the responsibility of their actions.”

President Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena of the Republic of El Salvador

El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes echoed his Costa Rican counterpart’s call for international support and stressed that drug trafficking affects not just Latin America but every country where drugs are obtained illegally.

“The international community must understand that it also suffers from this problem,” he said in his address today. “There is no nation in the world where there hasn’t been a drug consumer that has obtained drugs from the hand of criminal drug networks.”

He also said that Central American countries will continue to combat drug trafficking by strengthening their institutions, seeking transparency in their security bodies, and helping young people stay away from gangs. But he stressed that there would be no progress without the leadership of consumer countries, and called on the United States to take immediate measures.

“El Salvador and Central America are making great efforts to face this reality but the numbers are not on our side,” he said.

“We are talking about a drug trade route that moves about $100,000 million per year, and that culminates in the biggest market in the world and the main consumer of these substances: the United States. Not even a big country like Mexico can take a step on its own and have any possibilities of success in this battle in the face of such a terrorist threat.

“The battle against organized crime is everyone’s fight and in this sense, I would like to make a special appeal to the United Sates so that it assumes a resolute and concrete leadership in this battle against drug trafficking and organized crime.”


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