OAS Assembly Must Mark Milestone in Countering Drug Trafficking

By Dialogo
February 28, 2013

Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Fernando Carrera, confirmed on February 25 that his government wants the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, scheduled for next June in Guatemala, to mark a difference between “before and after” in the search for alternatives to combating drug trafficking in the region.

During a special session of the OAS in Washington, D.C., Carrera officially announced that this will be the General Assembly’s main topic. The meeting will take place from June 4 to 6 in the city of Antigua, Guatemala.

The minister added that the meeting will continue to analyze counter drug policies, as well as the possibility of adopting new approaches, which was started in the Summit of the Americas in April 2012, in Cartagena, Colombia.

According to Carrera, Guatemala proposes five topics for discussion: the hypothetical legalization of certain crops, decriminalizing consumption in order to limit prison population, strengthening healthcare systems, reducing drug related crimes and curbing weapons trafficking.

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, said that a report requested by regional countries about possible alternatives will be submitted by late March.

The report can be a basis for discussion in Antigua, to determine “what can be recommended to the [OAS] members and to the world in general, in order to improve the strategy,” Carrera said.

The United States government has stated its opposition to legalizing drugs, although it mentioned it would be open to discussions.

“We do not oppose carrying out sound discussions on regional drug trafficking,” so “we welcome a comprehensive discussion about alternative methods,” Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, U.S. representative at the OAS, stated.