As Americans scramble to erect an effective border between the US and Mexico, Caribbean leaders are pleading for the War on Drugs to reconsider a lackluster handle on the rampant drug traffic that presently seeps through many Caribbean island nations. Recently, a regional security conference was held in Barbados, where the hosting island-nation’s Prime Minister , David Thompson, asserted that all Caribbean nations viewed the increased frequency of drug smuggling as threatening not just the well-being of the individual, but that there are also regional, and national consequences.
US defense secretary, Robert Gates, insisted that coordinating the anti-drug efforts of Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States is the best option in scaling back the ever-present smuggling schemes. He mentioned that the US government has dedicated $70 million to help fund Caribbean police and social programs, though they aren’t expected to take effect until 2011; however, at least the money is now available, since such funding was turned down under the Bush administration.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that three-quarters of South American cocaine travels through Central America as it makes its way north. And, though the report also considers a significantly smaller amount to be passing through the Caribbean, Gates himself said that he was informed (by Caribbean leaders) that the situation has taken a turn for the worse; a situation which is directly linked to the 1.4-billion-dollar program – Plan Merida – which was put into action by the United States back in 2007. Gates closed the discussion with hopes that recent efforts illustrated the US’s reconsideration of the Caribbean issue, and that intercontinental cooperation is the ultimate solution for addressing these predicaments.