UN Debate: Mexico and Central America “Stake Our Blood” in Anti-Drug Fight

By Dialogo
September 23, 2011

At the UN, Mexican and Central American leaders called urgently on the drug-consuming countries to make a greater commitment to act against drug trafficking, because the region cannot continue “staking our blood.”

“We cannot continue staking our blood and taking the bullets. It’s not just,” Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom said in his address to the UN General Assembly in New York.

Both Colom and the presidents of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, and Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, affirmed in their speeches to the UN that their countries, through which drugs pass in transit to the United States, the chief consumer, are the ones that suffer the violence of organized crime.

“However much we do in the Central American region, Mexico, and Colombia, we need, and it’s indispensable (…) that the countries that have a market for drug consumption accept their shared responsibility for the murders that take place daily in our region,” Colom said, visibly emotional.

Central America will succeed “only if the consumption markets do their part,” he remarked.

“We should be aware that organized crime is killing more people and more young people than all the dictatorial regimes put together,” Calderón affirmed.

“Ten of thousands in our Latin America are dying because of the criminals,” he stressed.

“The power of crime is stronger than many governments,” the Mexican president added, although he clarified that this is not the case in his country, even if violence linked to organized crime has left more than 41,000 dead during his administration, which began in late 2006.

Colom indicated that during his four-year term, which will end shortly, the authorities seized drugs worth $12 billion dollars, “almost the equivalent of two national budgets” for Guatemala.

“To the extent that demand is not reduced in the developed countries, the strategy (against drug trafficking) that we’re following today in the region will have a partial and limited effect at best,” the Honduran president warned in his turn.

Lobo recalled that, according to UN figures, Central America is the region with the highest levels of violence due to organized crime in the world.

If the consuming countries act in a “brave” manner against consumption, “it will be very difficult for our societies to put an end to this plague,” he emphasized.

Central America launched a strategy against organized crime in June, at a meeting with donor countries and organizations at which the latter promised two billion dollars in aid for the isthmus.

This initiative has enjoyed extensive support from Mexico and Colombia, countries that face the plague of drug trafficking but have larger budgets with which to confront it.