Wednesday, March 28, 2012

US Offers to increase assistance to Guatemala

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield spoke with the Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina on Tuesday. Following their meeting, Brownfield said that the US was willing to increase aid to Guatemala to continue the fight against drug trafficking.

The US support will come in the form of additional aircraft, particularly helicopters, as well as well as technical assistance in aviation, increased intelligence, strengthening anti-gang programs, support for prosecutors, specialized security units, drug control, prison reform, border control, and bilateral exchanges of digital fingerprints, among others.

I haven't come across any details yet so it is hard to come to any conclusions just yet. Will the US eventually come through with more assistance? What's the US congress' position? Did the Perez's threat suggestion that the region consider decriminalizing drugs increase the amount that the US was willing to offer? Will Perez continue to promote decriminalization or has he been "bought off" and will now drop the matter?

My initial reaction is that there's a good chance that Perez would have been able to get this type of assistance just by asking. If this was his ultimate goal, there was no need to threaten decriminalization. I don't know. It's a bit underwhelming if this is where the story ends.

2 comments:

  1. I don't think the offer to increase aid is related to the calls for decriminalization of drugs. The US is increasing its aid to Honduras as well as offering an increase to Guatemala. Is this part of a drug prevention policy, as it is depicted? Or, is it part of a strategic plan for a stronger US presence in the region? I tend to think the latter may be stronger than the former, but I am not fully convinced.

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  2. Given some of the comments made by Army General Martin Dempsey about the importance of Latin America in the war on terror, I am more inclined to agree with you (http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/30/2722366/dempsey-latin-america-ties-key.html)

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