Created: 12/1/1993

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International Narcotics Review





International Narcotics ReekwQ


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fV realifln, important domestic political drv-dend. from pur-wine aggressr* antidrug policies These


canine* dcMvut* from drug lords -hose power ind .eaith have eonuM-

ureau-crauc nvalnes. and political indeeisior, coumeriiarcobcs programs 3re strenjthcnrnj denrauc processes and insirtutions, .ironing the confi-

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dud,ng insurgencies and

nnd iwivun-MIn Colombia

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Corornbiar. miliury uniu thai hare received antidrugtheir tactical prctlciency aad operational discipline, incutding respect for humanbeen deployed in connierlnsurgetKy operations]

With Ihe improved capabilities of antidrug security forces, regional governmentsdemonstrated tbey can assert authority hi remote areas

where tbey have long had little or no influence. Although maintainingimited pieserice in the remote Beai and Cbapare regions of Bolivia, police coanicrnarcotks sweeps have denied traffickers ancoostrainod use of these uaditional traffiebng areas, disrupting their narcotics activities and keeping (hem ofl-balance. In Peru, increased security force deployments and more suataiaed law enforcement efforts against tbe drug trade in the Huallaga Valky have not only earned much trafficking activity to shift elsewhere but alio have forced the Sendero Luminoso and other insurgents toower profile and weakened their support ba

Government recognition of the trafficking threat is enhancing regional cooperalion against the cocaine trade, potentially forging Ibe way for

dealing wllh ether iranuiatlooal IkreaJa.|

increased dctcrrnioaUoo and effectiveness of govcramenu to confront the domestic impact of the drug trade strengthens public faith inpolilical imitations. Corruption and riolence. lor example, have become potent polilical inure throughout Ulln America, wiih populace* ejecting governments to do something about both. In the last year, public reaction to evidence of corruptioney factor in the resignation of Brazilian President Coital and the impeachment of President Perez in Venezuela, perceptions of increasing violenceolilical nent in Mexico, j

corruption is increasingly seen as tlHlg'ouIdr. HrWaraiifldertniriing tbe quality of government. Drug money is particularly Insidious because of the large amounts involved, and most governmenlsublic mandate to crack down on corruption. Terrorist violence, whether by traffickers or by insurgent or other groups with political agendas, is abo of growing concern, particularly when it threatens tourism and other businessogota bad strong tupport for its crackdown against the Medellln traffickers because of their penchant for violence, and tbe Mexican Government it increasing pressure on drug organizations that arc responsible for gang wars thattui led in the deaths of several tourists and the Archbishop of Guadalajara)

Judical reform* undertakenornerstone of couMemareoiics policy in Colombia have strengthened Ibe criminal jestiee system and rnbinced il*

credibility. Wiih US support, Colombia is putting in place an adversarial system of justiceew criminal procedure* code that aie improving its ability to investigate and prosecute narcotics crimes, including drug-related corruption. Because of measnres to ensure the protection of judges, investigators, and witnesses, the judiciary has mostly withstood efforts by trafficker* to intimidate or corrupt iu officials. Ahbough trafficker influence has delayed antidrug legislation and led to key provisions in the criminal code that allow for lenient sentence reductions for drug criminals who implicate their confederates, the judicial system itself is stronger and more resistant to bribery and coercioc Meanwhile, Venezuela hu passed tough laws and sanctions against money laundering, and Chile will soonuit.

Perhaps most important, the integrity of democratic poIricaJ processes in Latin America has also benefitedceased emphases oa couitrmarcc-

tica. Altbough tbey remain able to infiltrate the police and otherand to buy influence with leading politicians, traffickerspolitically discredited in most Latin American countries.Increasingly are viewed asthreat to government institutionssystems. Known tramcker* no longer can openly competedad Pablo Escobar in the earlydominateas happened In Bolivia daringarciaAllegations of tics to drug kingpins areda magi eg to politicians- Indeed. Colombian presidentialErnesttput on use neieruivc after adeclared his support for Samper.!

Corruption and sometimes significant political opposition will remain major impediments to counternarcotict prograrna. aod Latin American governments will remain largely dependent on US support sad continue to looktrong US antidrug commitment. Nevertheless, strong counter-narcotics programs bolster democratic institutions and increase theof government* to cope with other threats to stability and prosperity. Recof niring the benefits, Latin American go>ernmenb are likely to enhance their antidrug efforts as theynhance their own credibility with populations increasingly looking for integrity and competency in government.


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