Drug Trade A Regional Problem, Dominican Leader Says

The president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, believes the problem of drug trafficking that afflicts Latin America requires "a global solution" since "no country can solve it alone."
WRITER-ID | 19 May 2009

The president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, believes the problem of drug trafficking that afflicts Latin America requires "a global solution" since "no country can solve it alone."

"No country can solve it alone. It must always be done on the basis of cooperation with others, because by nature it does not respect borders, it is a crime that is essentially transnational," Fernandez said in an interview with EFE in Madrid, where he is on a state visit.

"The country that can best cooperate is the United States, because demand is created in the United States," Fernandez said. "We can control supply, but they have to control the demand, and I believe that the attitude of President (Barack) Obama and his administration is acknowledging that and is seeking a comprehensive solution."

That solution should begin "with greater technical cooperation, with the training of human resources and more cooperation in surveillance."

"If we progress in that direction, we can be effective, as was demonstrated, for example, with the application of Plan Colombia," he said.

For the Dominican president, the fact that drug traffickers opposed in one country move to another, as occurred in the case of Colombia and is now happening in Mexico, reinforces the idea that the fight must be undertaken together.

The drug trade moves from one place to another, "so it has to be fought in Mexico, fought in Colombia, fought in Guatemala, throughout Central America, in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in order to vanquish the threat," he said.

While not a drug-producing nation, the Dominican Republic is a transit country for northbound shipments of cocaine from South America.

Fernandez also told EFE that in his meetings with Spain's King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero he will ask for the incorporation of Haiti, with which the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola, into the Ibero-American Community.

"Haiti is French-speaking not because it chose to be, but because the war between France and Spain ended with the Treaty of Basel which made Haiti part of France, but the island was Hispaniola from where the colonization of Ibero-America began, so that Haiti was originally part of that community," Fernandez said.

"It is an act of reparation that we are going to suggest in different scenarios," said Fernandez, who sees the possibility of Haiti being admitted at the next summit of the heads of state and government of Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

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