Panama To Continue Seeking Alternatives for Fight against Drug Trafficking

By Dialogo
March 28, 2012

Panama will continue engaging in dialogue with the remaining Central American countries in order to reach consensus on the fight against drug trafficking, although it opposes decriminalizing drugs, Foreign Minister Roberto Henríquez announced on March 26.

“We’re always going to continue to be a part of the dialogue,” because in Central America, “concerns are arising in terms of how to tackle this fight and to what extent the fight against drug trafficking is being effective and whether we’re winning it or not,” Henríquez said.

The Central American presidents will meet again in Guatemala on April 11 and 12 in order to continue discussing new strategies to combat the drug trafficking that is plaguing the region, according to Honduran President Porfirio Lobo.

A presidential-level meeting called for that purpose by the Guatemalan head of state, Otto Pérez, in his country Saturday, was attended only by the host and his counterparts from Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, and Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla. At the meeting, Pérez put forward a position in favor of decriminalizing drugs in order to reduce crimes linked to drug trafficking, which was not supported by his peers.

On March 26, Henríquez reiterated that Panama “does not believe in decriminalizing drugs, neither their use nor much less their trafficking,” although he acknowledged that “it’s necessary to really evaluate the issue and see whether there are other options that might enable us to be more efficient and successful in this difficult fight against drug trafficking.”

In Guatemala, the Central American presidents will seek a consensus position to take to the Summit of the Americas that will be held in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) on April 14 and 15.

“Never talking about issues that are important for the region, whether agreement or consensus is reached or not, is going to be a failure. Those attempts are always valuable,” Henríquez said.