THE ANDEAN NATIONS AND MEXICO: BUILDING A FRAMEWORK FOR REGIONAL ANTIDRUG COOPE

Created: 12/11/1991

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

ITie Andean Nations and Mexico:ramework for Regional Antidrug Cooperation

Summary

In seeking common initiatives on countemarcotics, the Andean nations-Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela-and Mexico haveatchwork of overlapping, sometimes contradictory diplomatic agreements, many of which have yet to be implemented. The six Latin American Presidents attending the upcoining antidrug summit with the United States will carefully weigh the potential domestic costs of any new regional cooperation proposals, preferring accords on noncontroversial issues such as precursor chemical controls.

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A Mosaic of Agrceme nts

Antidrug cooperation efforts among the Andean nations and Mexico operateackdrop of diverse multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements. The UN, the OrganiMtion of American Statesnd the European Community have taken an active role in negotiating multilateral accordsariety of topics, including extradition and cvklcnce-srtaring. For example, tbe OAS has fostered judicial coopcniTion proposals through its Inter-american Drug Abuse Control Commission.

The Rio Group and the Andean Pact have served as forums for regional counterna rooties agreements. The Rio Group last April resolved to work towardsommon approach to fight drug trafficking and narcotics corroption. In May, the Pact sponsored the Caracas Declaration, which covers money laundering, arms sales, and suspect air traffic. |

Colombia and Peru in particular have concluded bilateral antidrug pacts with neighboring countries. Colombia has several treaties with Venezuela and Peru on joint border operations againsteru has accords wilh Bolivia and

exico has forged several accords with Central American neighbors.

Some national countemarcotics organizations also use informal arrangements to work with their counterparts elsewhere. Colombia and Bolivia open their police training courses to participants from other Andean nations. Antidrug forces in Colombia and Ecuador for several years have routinely cooperated on operations in Ecuador's northeasterri border region, according the US defense attache in Quito.

Often Immaterial

The Andean nations and Mexico have given little weight to this frameworkin coordinating their fight against drugs,ariety ofsome governments apparently lack complete records onby earlier

signatories in many cases have beenexample,

after three years of debate, Bogota has still to ratify8 UN Vienna Convention on narcotics, whose provisions on extradition have been controversial in Colombia and now are at odds with the country's new constitution. Moreover, several cooperation pacts have yet to be fully implemented. An Andean regional police information center set up7 seldom has been used, largely because participants are rducrant to share

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sensitive data with neighboring countries]

Irwlficicncy and corruption appear to have hobbled other agreements. Although many Colombian traffickers operate in Bolivia, Colombia has nude no extradition requests under8 bilateral trcaty-perhap* because it has little raith in Bolivia's notoriously slow and corruplioD-plagued judicial system.

In addition, some accords establish overlapping mechanisms. Severaland Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela-have bilateral mtdligerKX-sharing agreements whose provisions are duplicated in regional pacts such as the South American Agreement on Narcotics and Psychotropics, as well as in the multilateral UN Vienna Convention. |

Other regional integration moves may work against efforts to cooperate oa countemarcotics. The Andean Pact's "open skies" civil aviation policy may facilitate cocaine shipments by loosening customs regulations. Similarly, the Pact's free trade provisions may ease the transfer of funds to launder drug money. |

The six Presidents probably will view with caution any efforts to forge additional regional antidrug accords. They may be especially wary of committing scarce resources to fulfill regional obligations. President Fujunori probably will point out that fiscal restraint-key to Peru's economicsharply limits his ability to fund countemarcotics efforts. Bolivia's President Paz Zarnora and Ecuador's President Borja may make similar pleas. President Gaviria almost certainly would emphasize lhat Colombia, havingead role in the flghiaeajnsi drugs, has alreadyeavy price in lives as well as resources. I

Some other leaders may argueweeping regional approach. Bona may claim, as he has before, that hu country's successful eradication policy separates it from Bolivia and Peru. In turn, Paz Zarnora probably would seek to play down Bolivia's trafficking problem, hoping to allay fears at borne that broader interdiction efforts could increase drug-linked violence, as they have in Colombia. I

concerns could also limit the scope of agreements. For example,

Venezuelan military officials have insisted on retaining control of joint

Similarly, Peru and Ecuador;

operations now, in the midst of talks on a

utions and of intelligence gathered in their country

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dispute; tbey probably would also be leery of accords on intelligence

sharing.

Nevertheless, some regional cooperation efforts probably would easily find

ground, particularly on noncontrovcrsial issues.j|'Pj'|Jj|^pjjiJat recent OAS and Andean Pact talks favor forging agreements on precursor chemical controls, ir>aoey-Uundering legislation, and judicial reform. In addition, some of the Presidents probably would view multilaleral pactsseful counter to domestic criticism that the United States dominates bilateral antidrug efforts. Both Mexico's President Salinas and Paz Zamora, for example, have faced sharp cemtroversy at home over US involvement in coiinternarcotics operations in their respective countries.

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