Drug Problem Nations To Be Graded

Drug Problem Nations To Be Graded
Posted by FoM on March 01, 2000 at 06:11:22 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: New York Times
For the Clinton administration, it's report card time for 26 countries which either produce drugs for the U.S. market or serve as transit points. It is a process that alienates many of those who take part, including the countries which are judged on their level of cooperation with U.S. counter-drug efforts and the members of Congress who believe the results are skewed by the administration for political reasons. 
A formal announcement of the findings was expected this afternoon. The State Department also was planning to publish its annual country-by-country report on international drug flows. Countries which are judged to be not fully cooperative with U.S. counter-narcotics efforts can be ``decertified'' and be subject to economic sanctions, but the administration rarely goes that far. The administration has made clear in recent weeks that it values the cooperation of the Mexican and Colombian governments, despite Colombia's role as a major source country for illicit drugs and Mexico as a major source and transit country. The chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations and the House International Relations Committees, Jesse Helms, R-N.C., and Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., respectively, have indicated their low regard for Mexico's counter-drug performance. Gilman said in a statement Tuesday that the administration, regrettably, ``has failed to apply the law faithfully when it comes to the annual March 1 'certification' of Mexico's anti-drug cooperation.'' Both Helms and Gilman favor ``decertification'' of Mexico. But Albright has already strongly suggested that Mexico is a good partner in the drug war and, accordingly, will be ``certified'' as fully cooperative with U.S. efforts. A year ago, the administration evaluated 28 countries. This year, Aruba and Belize were dropped from the list because of improved counter-drug performance. Some members of Congress lobbied hard to put Cuba on the list of countries subject to evaluation but the State Department said there was a decline in trafficking through Cuba last year compared with 1998. All 26 countries or territories on this year's list are repeaters: Afghanistan, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnam. Some countries with poor records of cooperation can be spared economic penalties if they are considered strategically important. These countries receive presidential ``waivers.'' Last year for example, Haiti, plagued by what officials called a ``dysfunctional criminal justice system,'' was decertified with a national interest waiver. In the same category were Cambodia, Nigeria and Paraguay. Afghanistan and Burma, key opium poppy countries, were decertified with no national interest waiver. Washington (AP) Published: March 1, 2000Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company Related Articles:Graves Discovery Intensifies Drug War Debate Hails Mexican Drug Fight
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on March 01, 2000 at 06:37:47 PT
Uncle Sam's report cards
This whole matter of 'certification' reminds me of the old Cheech and Chong skit about Sister Mary Elephant and her continual - and fruitless - attempts to control her unruly students. While her students are engaged in all sorts of non-educational pursuits, and paying her absolutely no attention, she drones on about poetry, until she realizes that no one is listening. She winds up screaming: Class? Class! SHUUUUT-UUUUUP! They quiet down for a while, and are soon back to their old games again. The US is cast in a similar role. We pontificate to drug producing countries about the need to lower or destroy production. They nod their heads, make the obligatory commiserating noises, but know that there is absoloutely nothing they can do so long as a market exists in the States. So, the US threatens to cut off aid or impose economic sanctions. Which makes as much sense as starving an anorexic. And yet, those nations most 'guilty' of supplying the US's voracious appetite, if they grovel politely, are kept on the 'teacher's pet' list. Typical DrugWar insanity.
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