The Islamic Post Blog


US Officials Promote Progressive Governance to ‘Face Challenges,’ Stem Drug Trade by Khalida
May 10, 2009, 2:01 pm
Filed under: Latino/Caribe, May Volume I - 2009 | Tags: ,

(IP) –Latin America received two visits from Obama administration officials in working in preparation for the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Fifth Summit of the Americas held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on April 17-19.
After US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s historic visit to Mexico City, Vice President Joe Biden made his tour of Latin America, meeting up with Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg, and Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero along with center-left heads of state from Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina along with Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Mission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS in Via Del Mar, Chile for the Progressive Governance conference. After the Chile forum, the Vice President headed to Costa Rica for a multilateral meeting attended by Guatemala’s President Alvaro Colom, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias, El Salvador’s President Tony Saca, El Salvador’s President- elect Mauricio Funes and Panama’s President Martin Torrijos. Second row left to right; Honduras’ Vice President Aristides Mejia, Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Nicaragua’s Assistant Foreign Minister Manuel Coronel.
Before the visit, the Vice President published an editorial in eleven newspapers announcing the intent of the visit. The editorial, entitled “A New Day for Partnership in the Americas” mentioned the upcoming summit in Trinidad and Tobago, wherein President Barack Obama will “meet his colleagues from across the Western Hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas.” “In advance of that historic meeting,” Mr Biden writes, “I am traveling to Central and South America to consult with Latin American leaders gathered in Chile and Costa Rica about the Summit and the challenges faced by the people of the Americas.
“These meetings are an important first step toward a new day in relations and building partnerships with and among the countries and people of the Hemisphere.”
In addition to mentioning the necessity of joint fiscal policies in the wake of the economic crisis, Mr Biden also reiterated in his editorial statements made by Secretary Clinton on her visit to Mexico earlier in the month. In what could be the first admission of partial culpability by a US administration, Secretary Clinton told reporters: an “insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade” along the US-Mexican border. “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians,” said Mrs Clinton, adding, “I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility.”
Vice President Biden wrote: “In the United States, we need to do more to reduce demand for illicit drugs and stem the flow of weapons and bulk cash south across our borders. We applaud Mexico’s courageous stand against violent drug cartels, as well as Colombia’s anti-drug efforts, but we know that they will have the side effect of pushing traffickers into Central America. We will build on the Meridá Initiative – started last year under President Bush – to assist Mexico and the Central American nations in a joint effort to confront that threat head-on. The drug trade is a problem we all share and one whose ultimate solution we must devise together.”
Mexican officials have long complained that the US government ignored how American demand for cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines fueled the trade. Some months ago, the Mexican President, Felipe Calderon alleged “drug trafficking in the United States [to be] fueled by the phenomenon of corruption on the part of the American authorities,” according to a PressTV report, which added American arms to have been used “in about 90 percent of the murders over drug trafficking, according to both US and Mexican officials.”
-Sources- State Dept, White House, Press TV

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