04/13/12- Over the course of the April 14-15 weekend, 33 heads of state from North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean are poised to convene at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. According to sources, the socio-political climate is such that discussion is likely to focus on narco-trafficking and the associated “War on Drugs.” Recent statements by U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderón seem to support this assessment.
President Obama has publicly recognized the U.S.’s role in narco-trafficking, and expressed his desire to be a part of the solution by acknowledging a need to reduce the domestic demand for drugs.
President Calderón has also explained the summit would be an unparalleled opportunity to speak with the United States and Canada about developing better strategies to combat the flow of drugs and eliminate the extreme violence that is currently plaguing various parts of Mexico. He stated that organized crime, drug trafficking, and violence are problems with which the majority of countries can relate. For this reason, the president argues, “We have a lot to say, we have a lot to contribute, we have a lot to demand in terms of co-responsibility, which must be faced together, multinationally–a problem that does not belong to one country or another. It is a transnational problem, and it must be treated as such.”
International efforts to combat drug trafficking within the Americas can already be seen in the way that Colombia has agreed to train Mexican police forces. According to Reforma, Colombian National Police forces will train approximately 12,000 Mexican agents in the anti-drug operations. Mexican Deputy José Roberto León Riaño explains that the partnership has come about because Colombians forces have developed a comprehensive understanding of counter-drug operations, and hope to share this knowledge with other areas of the world.
President Obama states that the summit will be “an excellent opportunity to debate how exactly to refocus attention on the ways in which [the Americas] can achieve the most progress together.”