More Than 100 Countries Agree in Mexico on a Common Front against Drug Trafficking
By Dialogo April 11, 2011
Representatives from more than one hundred countries agreed on 7 April, at a public ceremony in Cancún, to create a common front against organized crime and to set up regional operational groups to carry out coordinated actions against drug traffickers’ growing power.
“Our adversaries don’t respect borders, they don’t pay attention to our laws, and they believe that they can divide and undermine us; in order to be able to succeed, we have to remain united in trust and commitment,” Marie Leonhart, the administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), said in an address.
On the last working day of the Twenty-Eighth International Drug Enforcement Conference in Cancún, in eastern Mexico, the U.S. official specified that in order to make cooperation more effective, tasks will be divided according to regional groups with common aims.
In Latin America, one of the regional groups will be made up of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica and will receive collaboration from the United States, Mexico, and Colombia in order to curb the expansion of the cartels.
Another front is composed of seventy-five African and European countries through which emerging drug-trafficking routes run by way of the African continent, Leonhart indicated.
Another group will also be created by Asian countries and will focus on combating the route between Afghanistan and Europe, among others.
The new “challenges posed by the criminal organizations create the need to make global operations a reality,” Leonhart added.
For his part, Mexican Secretary of Public Safety Genaro García Luna said that the declaration signed at the end of the conference includes the proposal to promote coordinated operations “against transnational organized crime, taking advantage of the exchange of information in real time.”
García Luna added that intelligence exchange mechanisms will likewise be designed that will make it possible to combat illegal arms trafficking, strengthen the fight against money laundering, and prevent the financing of terrorism.
The Mexican official indicated that progress in the application of these mechanisms will be evaluated within a year’s time, at the next International Drug Enforcement Conference, which will be held in Indonesia.
At the ceremony, the head of the National Antinarcotics Council and general commissioner of the Indonesian Police, Gories Mere, was elected president pro tempore in charge of organizing the event.
The event was brought to a close by Mexican President Felipe Calderón, who indicated that despite criticism of his administration’s strategy of confronting drug trafficking with military force, he will continue insisting on that strategy “so long as no alternatives appear that are more beneficial or less costly for society and individuals.”