[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#1911: Haiti Urged To Crack Down on Drugs (fwd)


Wednesday January 19 9:13 PM ET  Haiti Urged To Crack Down on Drugs    
By DAN PERRY Associated Press Writer 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - U.S. Army Secretary Louis Caldera urged
Haiti's president Wednesday to take tough measures to fight a rising
tide of drugs flowing through this Caribbean nation.Drug traffickers
have made Haiti a key transit point for the flow of drugs from Colombia
to Europe and the Untied States,'' Caldera said after what he termed ``a
very candid discussion'' with President Rene Preval. Caldera said he
encouraged Preval to push for laws to combat money laundering and
corruption and to facilitate the extradition of drug traffickers wanted
by the United States. Drugs passing through countries like Haiti have
the ``ability to corrupt political institutions, including elected
leaders, judges, police officers, prosecutors,'' Caldera said.
 Thomas Umberg, a deputy director of the White House drug policy office,
estimated that 330 tons of cocaine head annually from South America to
the United States. About 12 percent of that - 3,600 tons - transits the
island of Hispaniola which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican
 Republic. Caldera met with Dominican President Leonel Fernandez on
Tuesday. While Haiti, with U.S. help, has reduced drug shipments by sea,
Umberg said there were more drug trafficking flights coming into the
country. Haiti allows U.S. ships and aircraft to pursue suspected drug
vessels into Haitian waters and airspace. But Haiti's anti-drug efforts
have been hampered by politics. After a protracted dispute, Preval
dissolved parliament last year, putting all legislation on hold. New
legislative elections are scheduled for March 19. In addition, Haiti's
legal system is notoriously ineffectual.