CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C. Weds. Sept. 16, 2009: President Barack Obama yesterday named four Caribbean nations to a major narcotics list.
Under the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, the President is required to notify Congress of those countries he determines to be major illicit drug-producing countries or major drug-transit countries.
The Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic were named to the 2009 list, along with 16 other countries – Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela.
Of the 20 nations, the President said he determined that three countries, Bolivia, Burma, and Venezuela, `failed demonstrably` during the last 12 months to adhere to international counter-narcotic agreements and take counter-narcotic measures set forth in U.S. law.
In the case of Bolivia and Venezuela, the President also issued a national interest waiver so that the United States may continue to support specific programs to benefit the Bolivian and Venezuelan people.
In Venezuela, funds will continue to support civil society programs and small community development programs. In Bolivia, the waiver will permit continued support for agricultural development, exchange programs, small enterprise development and police training programs among others.
However, the Department of State was last night quick to point out `that a country`s presence on the list does not necessarily reflect its counternarcotics efforts nor does it reflect its cooperation with the United States.`
The designation, however, can reflect a combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to be produced and/or trafficked through a country despite its own best efforts.
When a country does not live up to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements and conventions, the President determines that the country has `failed demonstrably.` Such a designation can lead to sanctions.
However, the President may also execute a waiver should he determine that continuing U.S. assistance is in the national interest of the United States. Even without such a waiver, humanitarian assistance and counternarcotics assistance may continue.