The republican administration of Donald Trump this Wednesday certified Colombia’s performance in the fight against drugs during 2019, although it considered that illicit crops and coca production they remain at very high and unacceptable levels.
(You may be interested in: ‘In the fight against drug crops there is no silver bullet’)
“In Colombia, the president Ivan Duque and his government remained strong allies of the United States, and the police and military forces have shown great courage and commitment in targeting large drug traffickers, interdicting shipments, and manually eradicating coca. However, cultivation and production remain at unacceptably high levels“said President Trump when announcing the determination.
Colombia must resume aerial spraying, which remains an irreplaceable tool in the government’s arsenal, alongside manual eradication and economic development
The president also pushed hard for it to resume aerial spraying.
According to Trump, to achieve the goal of cutting crops in half by 2023, “Colombia must resume aerial spraying, which remains an irreplaceable tool in the government’s arsenal, alongside manual eradication and economic development“.
Annually, around this time, the current president must comply with a law approved by Congress that requires him to determine which countries fully cooperated with the United States in the fight against drugs and which did not and therefore are subject to heavy penalties.
For more than two decades, Colombia has always been certified regardless of the increase or decrease in illicit crops in the country, one of the courses used to make the decision.
In large part because the Colombian governments throughout these years have worked hand in hand with Washington in the fight against the production and trafficking of illicit drugs. Despite this two years ago, Trump was about to decertify Colombia due to the exponential growth of crops between 2014 and 2017.
On the other hand, in his determination this year, Trump decided to decertify Bolivia and Venezuela, but used a provision that allows him to keep aid in these countries in the national interest.
In addition, it included these two countries, as well as Colombia, in a list with 20 other countries that are considered countries mostly responsible for trafficking and / or production.
Those are Afghanistan, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
As expected, Trump’s harshest words were against the regime of Nicolas Maduro, whom he classified as the “most complicit capo in the entire region” and for who offers 5 million dollars as a reward for his capture to face drug trafficking charges in a US court.
Trump also expressed concern about the increase in coca crops in Peru, which has reached historic levels and asked the government of this country to resume eradication in some regions of the country.
(In context: ‘If it is not fumigated, we will not end drugs in Colombia’: Trump)
In the case of Bolivia, while Trump maintains that since the departure of Evo Morales in 2019 the authorities have been cooperating with the United States in the fight against drugs, coca crops still exceed the limits imposed by their own laws, that allow the sowing of the drug for medicinal and traditional uses. To take some corrections during the current year, Trump promised La Paz, remove it next year from the decertified list.
He also had strong words about Mexico. He said he was not doing enough in interdiction, extradition and control of drug cartels. In fact, he threatened to decertify her if she does not show great progress in all these areas in the immediate future.
SERGIO GÓMEZ MASERI
EL TIEMPO correspondent
En twitter @ sergom68