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|Posted February 3, 2003|
Haiti, a narcotics nation
|Fact Sheet Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Washington, D.C. January 31, 2003|
|Statements of Explanation for Burma, Guatemala, and Haiti|
The United States has determined that Burma failed demonstrably to make sufficient efforts during the last 12 months to meet its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements and the counternarcotics requirements set forth in section 489(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.
Burma remains the world?s number one producer and trafficker of methamphetamine and the world?s second largest producer and trafficker of heroin. Judging from the situation in neighboring countries, production and trafficking of methamphetamine from Burma continues to be one of the most serious problems facing Southeast Asia. Drug gangs operate freely within Burma along its borders with China and Thailand, producing several hundred million methamphetamine tablets annually by using precursors imported from neighboring states.
Although Burma banned the import, sale, and use of 25 precursor chemicals and related substances used in the production of methamphetamine in 2002, Burma has yet to take effective measures against methamphetamine production and trafficking or the importation of precursor chemicals from neighboring states used in the production of methamphetamine. Hundreds of millions of methamphetamine tablets flooded the region, and seizures of methamphetamine went down significantly in 2002 (about 9 million tablets compared to 32 million in 2001), representing only a tiny fraction of the estimated production. In addition, the government destroyed a smaller number of methamphetamine and heroin labs in 2002 compared to the previous year.
Burma has also yet to curb involvement in illicit narcotics by the largest, most powerful, and most important trafficking organization within its borders, the United Wa State Army (UWSA). Although the government claims it has increased pressure on the UWSA to end opium production, major UWSA traffickers continue to operate with apparent impunity and UWSA involvement in methamphetamine production and trafficking remains a serious concern.
While the United States gives Burma a failing grade due to the magnitude of the above issues, we do note some progress on several counternarcotics fronts. Although Burma remains the world?s second largest producer of illicit opium, opium production in Burma declined 26 percent in the past year, seizures of heroin and opium increased, and the government has initiated several cases against accused money-launders under new anti-money laundering laws.
The Government of Burma also continued to cooperate with regional and international counternarcotics agencies and organizations, resulting in several cases against traffickers and their organizations in cooperation with the United States, Australia, Thailand, China, and others. Increased cooperation with China, in particular, resulted in the rendering of several narco-traffickers to China in 2002.
We urge the Government of Burma to redouble efforts in those areas where it is making progress and to address those major gaps where it has made no serious efforts to date.
Despite improvements towards the end of the year, Guatemala failed demonstrably during the last 12 months to make substantial efforts to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements and to take the counternarcotics measures set forth in section 489(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. Guatemala remains a major transshipment point for drugs, primarily cocaine, moving from South America to the United States. However, the vital national interests of the United States require the United States to continue providing assistance to Guatemala under the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Act, 2002 (P.L. 107-115).
During 2002, Guatemala's overall counterdrug commitment deteriorated. The Government of Guatemala?s (GOG) counternarcotics efforts traditionally have been limited by a lack of resources for police, prosecutors, and judges. However, in 2002, a heightened level of corruption also impeded significant progress in the battle against narcotrafficking. Seizures of illegal narcotics and narcotics-related prosecutions in Guatemala were dramatically lower than in years past, despite evidence that the flow of illegal drugs had not diminished. Efforts to pass and implement anti-corruption and transparency legislation floundered. Few high-level figures were formally investigated or indicted; and the Anti-Narcotics Police (DOAN) was disbanded after several attempts at reform and the firing or reassignment of 75% of all personnel. The majority of Anti-Narcotics Prosecutors were also removed or transferred in the last year due to poor performance. During 2002, police stole an amount of drugs estimated at double the amount officially seized, and were identified as responsible for drug-related extra-judicial executions of both narcotraffickers and civilians.
Toward the end of 2002, at the request of the United States the GOG took some positive counternarcotics steps. (Guatemala has said they will re-open negotiations but have not set a date yet. ONDCP suggests deleting this statement because it will provide ammunition to countries that oppose the maritime counternarcotics agreement, such as Mexico, and claim the United States pressures small countries into participating.) The GOG promulgated regulations to implement the modern money laundering legislation passed in 2001 (though there have been no convictions to date). A number of police officers were arrested and others removed from office in connection with a gun battle over a drug shipment in the town of Chocon. The GOG recently began regularly destroying newly confiscated drugs not needed for evidence, and, in December, destroyed a modest amount of drugs stored from older cases.
Despite Guatemala?s demonstrable failure on counternarcotics efforts, U.S. vital national interests require that U.S. assistance to Guatemala continue. Social and political problems underlying the country?s 36-year civil conflict remain, and many Peace Accord commitments have not been met. There is a need for continued assistance to programs that diversify the rural economy, increase access to education and medical services, strengthen judicial and human rights institutions, foster the development of civil society, and address environmental concerns. These programs create an environment conducive to building democracy and reducing illegal migration. They also address social injustice, poverty, and distrust of civil authority in Guatemala, which are contributing factors behind Guatemalan involvement in the drug trade. The upcoming Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) negotiations will also require significant U.S. involvement and assistance in projects linked to further economic liberalization. Additionally, suspension of assistance to Guatemala would result in the further deterioration of Guatemalan institutions essential to combating the ever-growing influence of organized crime in Guatemala.
Haiti failed demonstrably during the last 12 months to make substantial efforts to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements and take the counternarcotics measures set forth in section 489(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. Haiti remains a significant transshipment point for drugs, primarily cocaine, moving through the Caribbean from South America to the United States. However, the vital national interests of the United States require the United States to continue to provide assistance to Haiti under the Foreign Operations, Export, Financing, and Related Programs Act, 2002 (P.L. 107-115).
Haiti?s overall counterdrug commitment has remained weak, in part due to political instability and low levels of assistance. Such instability, coupled with economic degradation, has led to an increase in criminal and political violence and compromised internal security. Corruption is rife; including reported police involvement in kidnapping-for-ransom, car theft, and coercion of junior police officers either to assist in or to ignore drug trafficking activities. President Aristide has attempted to shore up his personal and political security by politicizing the Haitian National Police (HNP). This, in contravention to one of President Aristide?s commitments to the U.S. Government, bodes ill for an effective counternarcotics effort.
With two exceptions (putting into force a 1997 U.S.-Haiti bilateral maritime counternarcotics interdiction agreement and establishing a Financial Intelligence Unit), the Government of Haiti (GOH) has taken no action on its own initiative in the past year either to cooperate with the United States to interdict the flow of drugs destined for the United States or to honor its commitments as a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Other than signing a bilateral counternarcotics Letter of Agreement, permitting the polygraph examination of 40 HNP anti-drug unit officers, and removing those with questionable results, Haiti failed to take significant counterdrug actions requested by the U.S. Government. In summary, the GOH did not: 1) deposit an instrument of ratification of the OAS Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; 2) introduce anti-corruption legislation; 3) prosecute drug-related public (including police) corruption; 4) implement fully the anti-money laundering law passed in January 2001; 5) enforce existing anti-money laundering guidelines issued by the Central Bank; 6) require cross-border currency declarations and provide penalties for noncompliance; 7) increase the number of arrests of major traffickers; 8) establish a permanent BLTS (French acronym for the HNP anti-drug unit) office outside Port-au-Prince; or 9) provide training to judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials.
Despite Haiti?s demonstrable failure on counternarcotics issues, U.S. vital national interests require that U.S. assistance to Haiti continue. Haiti is the hemisphere?s poorest country. There is a continued need for assistance to programs that increase access to education, combat environmental degradation, fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, and foster the creation of legitimate business and employment opportunities. These programs can create an atmosphere conducive to building democracy and reducing illegal migration. They will also address root causes of poverty and hopelessness in Haiti, contributing factors behind Haitian involvement in the international drug trade. Suspension of assistance to Haiti would result in the further deterioration of Haitian institutions. Additionally, suspension would hamper U.S. efforts to ensure implementation of OAS Resolution 822, which commits Haiti to hold legislative elections in 2003. [Fact Sheet: FY 2003 Narcotics Certification Process]
*This report was reproduced from The United States Department of State Web site on February 3, 2003. The purpose of its re-publication by wehaitians.com is that its tens of thousands of daily visitors will, hopefully, become more engaged (i.e., reporting narcotics traffikers to police) in the fight against narcotis.
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