Tuxtla Group Will Seek to Coordinate Police and Prosecutors in Anti-Drug Fight

By Dialogo
October 27, 2011

The Tuxtla Group, made up of Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, will seek to modernize and coordinate their police and prosecutors in order to combat organized crime, especially drug trafficking, according to an agreement reached at a ministerial meeting on October 24.

Foreign ministers and deputy foreign ministers from the countries belonging to this Mesoamerican dialogue mechanism concluded a meeting in the Mexican city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez (Chiapas, southeastern Mexico), where they established the terms of the document they will take to the organization’s thirteenth presidential summit, to be held in early November.

Among the projects that will be debated at the summit are “modernizing and coordinating the police, the prosecutors at the regional level, intelligence, and exchange of information,” the Salvadoran deputy foreign minister, Carlos Castañeda, said at a press conference at the end of the meeting.

The Guatemalan foreign minister, Haroldo Rodas, for his part, declared that the presidents will analyze 8 projects selected from a group of 22 debated at the International Security Conference held two months previously in Guatemala.

“They’re projects that are already prepared with their financial costs. The presidents are going to be informed about the results we have,” Rodas said, stressing that the issue of “drug trafficking and organized crime is one of the most important in the region.”

Drug trafficking in Central America, Rodas added, has had a renaissance because it is no longer only a transit area, but also the site of different events that make this set of problems affecting the region “much more complicated.”

The Mexican foreign minister, Patricia Espinosa, specified that “actions combating transnational organized-crime groups in the areas of drug trafficking, chemical precursors, money laundering, and arms trafficking” will be debated.

Upon opening the meeting, Espinosa had emphasized that organized crime represents a “threat” to the region’s institutions and its democratic consolidation.

The governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines, proposed creating a document that would enable Central Americans to enter Mexico, making it possible to combat human trafficking and restrain the abuses suffered by thousands of immigrants who attempt the crossing.

“The commitment is to be able to have a joint agreement and that they (the Central Americans) also issue a document and that a visa should not be a pretext to keep them from entering the country,” Sabines told the press. This would respond to a “security problem for Mexico and a human-rights issue,” he added.

The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Costa Rica, Enrique Castillo; Nicaragua, Samuel Santos; and Panama, Roberto Henríquez. Belize, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Honduras were represented at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

The Tuxtla Group, which has had various names and which the countries of the region have joined over time, was created in 1991 as a forum for articulating shared projects to benefit the Mesoamerican peoples.

At the previous summit, held a year ago in the Colombian city of Cartagena, the communiqué was also dominated by the issue of drug trafficking, especially condemnation of the United States as the world’s chief consumption market.