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Apr 12, 2018

U.S. Pledges to Help Belize Fix Drug-Smeared Reputation

All of Central America including Belize has been listed in the 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the U.S. State Department, published this week. These and other countries have been identified as major sources and in Belize’s case, transshipment points for illicit drugs including marijuana and cocaine, most of which end up in the United States itself. It is the third consecutive year that Belize has been given that dubious distinction. The common complaint coming from the listed countries is that the U.S. is not doing enough to eradicate demand for these drugs and the lure of bringing them in for big bucks. The local representative at the U.S. Embassy emphasized today that drug trafficking is a transnational affair and it will take cooperation among local agencies working on the ground to do so.

 

Deborah Lingwood

Deborah Lingwood, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy

“We have a very good cooperation with the Government of Belize on this issue. We work closely with the now-Ministry of National Security, and certainly with the police and the Coast Guard, in finding ways to combat this and to recognize when drugs are coming from Belize, because we know that a lot of these drugs end up in the United States. We don’t want that to happen; Belize does not want to be a transshipment point either; so we rely very heavily on the Government of Belize and the Police and the Coast Guard and we would like to continue our effective relationship with them to combat this problem. I think you have to approach the problem from all angles: you need to both reduce demand in the United States, but you also need to reduce supply coming from all sources in the world. And so it’s not a problem that you can just tackle one issue and it’s gone. You need to tackle from all fronts and the transshipment of drugs is one of those angles and that is what the INCSR report focuses on.”

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