OAS Releases Report Card on Drugs

OAS Releases Report Card on Drugs
Posted by FoM on February 01, 2001 at 14:37:46 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Las Vegas Sun
Most of the Western Hemisphere's 34 nations must strengthen their drug prevention efforts, determine how many citizens use illegal drugs and assess how much it costs to fight drug use, an international report says.The White House welcomed the nation-by-nation report card on drug policies, issued Thursday by the Organization of American States.
"It will become increasingly apparent to policy people in the hemisphere that our national interests are better served by this evaluation mechanism than by a system based on confrontation," said Edward H. Jurith, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.U.S. and Latin American officials hope the OAS study, known as the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism eventually will replace the U.S. drug certification system, under which the United States annually judges other nations on their cooperation in fighting drugs. Under that system, those seen as not doing enough face sanctions.That process has infuriated Mexico and other nations that view it as an assault on their sovereignty. They also say it's hypocritical, since the United States is the leading consumer of illegal drugs."This is a totally different process from that of certification," OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria said Thursday. "It will have a lot more legitimacy because it's a result of the work of a lot of nations."The "environment of cooperation probably will get more results than the environment of sanctions," Gaviria said.Among the main U.S. advocates of the OAS study is Barry McCaffrey, Jurith's predecessor.But the certification process could not be changed without Congress' approval, and some lawmakers expressed skepticism about the multilateral system.Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, last year said the OAS system "looks like it could be a gimmick to water down accountability, and nobody needs that."Among the report's recommendations:-25 of 34 Western Hemisphere nations must strengthen their drug prevention efforts.-28 nations must implement a system to estimate drug consumption.-29 nations must develop the ability to estimate the cost of their drug problem.Among the report's findings:-In Bolivia, the area of coca cultivation dropped more than 60 percent from 1998 to 1999.-In Colombia, authorities more than doubled the amount of coca leaf seized, from 338.5 tons to 710 tons between 1999 and first part of 2000.-In Mexico, authorities said 121,272 acres of marijuana and poppies were eradicated and five heroin laboratories were destroyed.-In Panama, authorities reported 979 arrests for drug offenses in 1999, but data on prosecutions was unavailable.-In Peru, authorities said the total amount of coca grown has dropped 66 percent in past 4 years. However, an estimated 30 percent of the coca cultivation areas abandoned in the Apurimac River Valley were rehabilitated and new coca cultivation has started in the nontraditional regions of Manati River/Santa Clotilde, San Pedro and Atun Quebrada.-In Venezuela, authorities said 13.4 tons of cocaine and 14.4 tons of marijuana were seized in 1999. But only 15 percent of those charged with drug trafficking or possession were convicted.The report will be given to hemispheric leaders at their next summit April 20-22 in Quebec, Canada.On the Net:OAS reports: Las Vegas Sun (NV)Published: February 01, 2001Copyright: 2001 Las Vegas Sun, Inc.Address: P.O. Box 4275, Las Vegas, NV 89127Fax: (702) 383-7264Contact: letters lasvegassun.comWebsite: Articles:OAS To Present First Hemispheric Report Card
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Comment #2 posted by Mr. 2toes on February 02, 2001 at 01:46:06 PT
"Under that system, those seen as not doing enough face sanctions." This system seriously frightens me, as if we are the governing nation of the world! Mexico, and all other nations deserve there right to do whatever they please under there government system.
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Comment #1 posted by Dan B on February 01, 2001 at 22:10:33 PT:
If They Truly Wanted To Be Fair . . .
. . . they would assess not just how much they confiscated or destroyed and how many were convicted, but what the end result of all this effort has been. If they did that, and were honest in the effort (a mighty huge stretch for antis), they would finally begin to see that they are causing far more harm to people's health and economic stability, the environment, the world political and economic climate, and any efforts at peace in Latin America (for starters--I'm sure many of you can think of several additions to this list), than all of the drugs they are attempting to eradicate, combined.But they are not interested in learning about the effects of their campaign against all drugs not profitable to tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical interests. Their only interest is continuing the very lucrative (and destructive) policy of zero-tolerance. Dan B
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