Friday, March 4, 2011

U.S.-Cuba cooperation on drug enforcement

The State Department’s annual drug strategy report is out, complete with a very informative, straightforward section on Cuba, a country with little domestic drug market but lots of trafficking activity because it is located “between the large U.S. market and the largest exporters of illegal drugs in the hemisphere, and astride known smuggling routes.”

In the last year, Cuban authorities notified U.S. counterparts 36 times of smuggling operations in progress, leading to “multiple vessel interdictions and one one metric ton marijuana seizure.”

The report also notes something that I don’t recall the U.S. government stating in some time: “The 1905 extradition treaty between the United States and Cuba and an extradition agreement from 1926 remain in effect.”

It concludes by calling for “greater communication and cooperation among the U.S., its international partners and Cuba, particularly in the area of real-time tactical information-sharing and improved tactics, techniques and procedures.”

Cuban officials have long called for a bilateral agreement on drug enforcement, while U.S. officials have tended to place a priority on simply cooperating more.

Agreement or no agreement, the report points to increased collaboration ahead.

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