Sep 6, 2012

Democrats to increase fight against drug trafficking

Americas Program Original Translation
Wednesday September 5, 2012
J. Jaime Hernandez  | The Universal

CHARLOTTE, NC. - The “dramatic expansion” in size and scope of transnational crime networks today draws its alliances with international terrorism, government officials and some state security services, "hurting people worldwide, posing a threat to stability and subverting government institutions through corruption,” according to the Democratic Party platform, approved here yesterday at the start of their national convention.

According to the document, this transnational threat is within the priorities and commitments of President Barack Obama in the fight against this global scourge. Highlighting the partnership with countries like Mexico in fighting drug cartels and gangs, the Democratic platform is a commitment to the continuation of this struggle.

"Transnational criminal organizations have accumulated wealth and unprecedented power over the drug trade, illegal arms trafficking, human trafficking and other illicit activities that have entered the financial system," says the program, which highlights Obama's priorities in security, international relations and future cooperation.

Highlighting the partnership the United States has with countries like Mexico in the fight against drug traffickers and gangs, the document advocates a greater strain on the finances of the cartels - including a look into the U.S. banking system - for Obama’s second term. According to the document, security and stability on both sides of the border depends on the continuity and improvement of the fight with Mexico against the criminal organizations. Thus, the Obama campaign is committing to the continuity and strengthening of the capacities of the two countries to hit the criminal organizations and their finances and to regionalize these efforts so that the cartels "have no place to hide."

"We do not see any change in the battle we have fought with Mexico. We recognize the efforts of the Mexican authorities and we also accept that we have to put more of our part in this struggle, particularly in the chapter of consumption (of drugs) and that of weapons,” Michelle Flournoy told El Universal, Obama’s campaign adviser for national security and international relations.

Although the platform makes no specific mention of the update or reformulation of the Merida Initiative that began under the administration of George W. Bush in 2008, the document makes clear the need for joint collaboration to address a threat that has spread on several fronts.

Regionalize the fight

The platform’s commitment to regionalize the strategy against the cartels is an approach that began under Obama's first term. "Under the logic that we all face these challenges, we will continue to support regional security forces to tighten border security, equip the police and provide the technology and training they need to keep their communities safe," he says.

"We have strengthened our cooperation with Mexico, Colombia and throughout Central America to fight drug traffickers and criminal gangs that threaten their citizens and ours. In addition, we will expand our partnership network to the Caribbean," he says.

It also puts a greater emphasis on the exchange of intelligence information and greater pressure on finance, which is the blood that feeds the power of the cartels of corruption across borders. The platform mentions the issue of gun control, one of the most controversial in U.S. policy. Unlike GOP, Democrats seek to restore the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, which the Mexican government is demanding in order to prevent arms from getting to the drug cartels.

In analyzing the Democratic platform, Professor John Bailey from Georgetown University criticized their emphasis on security and the fight against cartels and terrorist groups. "The almost automatic connection with transnational crime and terrorist organizations is confusing, it is also an invitation to greater militarization of U.S. policy in the fight against organized crime," he said.

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