Mexico At Risk Of Joining Drugs Black List -Report

Mexico At Risk Of Joining Drugs Black List -Report
Posted by FoM on February 16, 1999 at 07:36:14 PT
We will soon have our own Berlin Wall!
U.S. and Mexican officials are bracing for an aggressive bid in Congress to "decertify" Mexico as an ally in the United States' war on drugs after a year of dismal results in Mexican anti-drug efforts, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Mexico made no progress in reducing drug trafficking and corruption in 1998 and in many areas actually did worse than the previous year, the newspaper reported, quoting U.S. officials.Because of Mexico's lack of progress, some U.S. and Mexican officials are expecting the U.S. Congress to try to add the country to the "black list" of nations that are judged failures in the war against drugs by decertifying it, the paper said."What grade do you give them if they have really done nothing?" the Post quoted one U.S. official involved in monitoring Mexico's anti-drug efforts as saying. "You would have to give them a D-minus or an F."The newspaper listed a lack of progress on many fronts.Seizures of cocaine, marijuana and heroin fell significantly. Drug arrests declined, and the number of drug investigations either underway or completed dropped 14 percent from 1997. There was a drop in the number of poppy fields destroyed and clandestine drug laboratories that were found and dismantled.Confiscations of drug-carrying cars, trucks and boats were down. Seizures of ephedrine, the key ingredient in methamphetamine -- commonly known as speed -- and of opium gum, a poppy residue used to make heroin, were almost halved from 1997, according to the Post report.By March 1 of every year the U.S. president must certify to Congress whether countries that are major drug producers or transshipment areas are "fully cooperating" in the drug war. If not, the nations lose a host of economic and trade benefits.The White House also has the option of decertifying a country while waiving the sanctions, in the national interest.Clinton, who plans to visit Mexico for meetings with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo on Feb. 14 and 15, is expected to approve Mexico's certification.But administration officials are increasingly concerned that Mexico's weak 1998 record will prompt a concerted effort by some members of Congress to overturn the decision, the Post reported.Last year, decertified countries included Iran, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Myanmar.Rep. John L. Mica, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House subcommittee on criminal justice, drug policy and human resources, said there would be strong support this year to overturn Mexico's certification.Senior administration officials said they know they are facing a hard sell on Capitol Hill."Opponents of certification require more than good faith efforts from Mexico -- they want results, including extraditions of Mexican nationals, more prosecutions of corrupt officials and more than paper agreements about cooperative law enforcement arrangements," said an internal White House document obtained by the Post."Without strong statistical evidence, our supporters (in Congress who back certification) may very well become opponents," the document warned. "They have made it known to us that they ... need more and better evidence of cooperative efforts. By this, they mean evidence of outcomes."
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