By Alexis R. Milan
The United States (US) State Department, this week, listed Belize, along with 21 other countries, including some from the Middle-East and Central America, as being among the major drug producing and trafficking states.
US President Barack Obama alerted the US Congress about the countries on the list, which along with Belize includes Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. The countries were marked as remaining drug producers and traffickers.
A country being placed on the list does not reflect its counter-narcotic efforts or levels of cooperation with the US on illegal drug control, the US State Department acknowledged.
Of the 22 countries on the list, Obama noted that Bolivia, Burma and Venezuela have “failed demonstrably” during the previous 12 months to make efforts to obey obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements.
The US State Department explained that a “failed demonstrably” designation could lead to the US imposing sanctions on a country.
Obama also stated that the continued push for democracy in Burma and Venezuela is so important to US national interests that he gave the two countries national interest waivers.