Central America 13/06/11
Costa Rica and Guatemala slam global drug report findings; the OAS approves a new regional security plan; and the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off.
The governments of Costa Rica and Guatemala have criticised the report on drug policy published last week. As previously reported, the Global Commission on Drug Policy report found that ‘the global war on drugs has failed’ and advocated an alternative approach to the criminalisation of drug users.
This week presidents Álvaro Colom of Guatemala and Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica slammed the findings of the report. ‘I think all presidents have the temptation of legalising drugs so that this violence finally leaves us alone,’ declared Colom, whilst visiting Costa Rica on 5 June. ‘However, I believe that it is not the right path. The right path is to fight all together against drug trafficking in the area.’
Chinchilla stated that Costa Rica has already decriminalised marijuana use, but condemned the idea of legalising the sale of the drug. ‘It seems to me naïve for those who say “let’s legalise marijuana and the drug traffickers earnings will drop,”’ affirmed Chinchilla. As a result, she claimed, the criminal gangs ‘will move to harder drugs, and the situation will be worse, because this would open up larger consumer markets for hard drugs.’
The Organisation of American States (OAS) approved a regional security plan at the 41st General Assembly which took place in San Salvador this week, from 5 to 7 June 2011. The member states have agreed to establish regional mechanisms for combating all forms of organised crime, including trafficking of drugs, people and firearms, kidnappings and violence against women and children.
A former national police chief in Guatemala has been arrested over the disappearance of a student union leader during the country’s civil war. Héctor Rafael Bol de la Cruz is accused of being behind the disappearance of Fernando García, who has not been seen since he was arrested in Guatemala City in 1984.
Central America’s national teams have enjoyed mixed fortunes in the opening week of the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Copa de Oro (Gold Cup). In Group A, Costa Rica routed Cuba 5-0 on the opening day, while El Salvador lost by the same margin to reigning champions Mexico, with Manchester United’s Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez duly netting a hat-trick. Costa Rica and El Salvador then drew 1-1, with their final group games due to be played on Sunday evening.
In Group B, Honduras thumped Granada 7-1, following a 0-0 draw with Guatemala, who were then beaten 2-0 by Jamaica. In Group C, Panama claimed a shock 2-1 victory over the hosts, the United States, ending their 26-game unbeaten run in the group stages. Having now booked their place in the quarter finals, Panama will play Canada in their final group game on Tuesday.