Proposal for Multinational Anti-Drug Coalition Advanced
An coalition of Democrats and Republicans is pushing a proposal by U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell (R-GA) to create a multinational anti-drug alliance. The alliance would include the U.S. and the hemisphere's largest cocaine- and marijuana-producing nations -- Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru -- to coordinate military strategy, set goals and negotiate outstanding disagreements over drug enforcement jurisdiction (Cox News Service, "Multinational Drug-War Plan Gains Support," Orlando Sentinel, March 27, 1997, p. A16).
Supporters argue that regional cooperation would help avoid the annual partisan battles over "certification," in which the U.S. Administration decides which other countries have cooperated in the U.S. anti-drug effort and are worthy of U.S. aid. Critics of the certification process observe that it alienates our Latin American neighbors. Republicans argue that a multinational strategy would be more effective in cutting and interdicting drug supply, and would give the anti-drug effort higher visibility. U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) is the proposal's most vocal Democratic backer.
Details of the proposal have not been worked out, but Coverdell envisions an entity located in a "neutral" country, such as Panama or Guatemala. The alliance could remove barriers to international interdiction, and facilitate agreements such as allowing U.S. Coast Guard vessels to pursue suspected drug traffickers into the territorial waters of other countries. Senator Coverdell's office said he wants to introduce legislation within the next month.
Sen. Paul Coverdell's office - (202) 224-3643.