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September 2007
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More on the Annual Report on Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries

A very surreal presentation by Christy McCampbell , Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, where it appears that success is measured by wishing it.

QUESTION: You threw out a bunch of countries where there are extenuating circumstances. I understand Afghanistan being one of them, but a few of the other ones are close U.S. allies and in some cases, this is what Plan Colombia has been going on for many years. Why are there extenuating circumstances in these countries beyond the fact that they’re U.S. allies? […]
MS. MCCAMPBELL: Okay. Well, first of all, let me go back to your questions about — you mentioned Plan Colombia. Plan Colombia has absolutely been a success and a lot of that is because of the assistance that the United States has put in there. Now they are on the — what we’re — Colombia is going on a downhill — gradually moving downhill to take over all the eradication and the counternarcotics activities themselves. We call it nationalization. They have done a great job down there and because of Plan Colombia, they have amazing statistics. Their kidnappings are down by 76 percent. Their homicides are down by over 40 percent. There has been a great success rate there.
So when you talk about extenuating circumstances, they still are growing cocaine — or coca. They still are producing cocaine. But in the overall picture, over the last years that we have helped them and worked with them as partners on Plan Colombia, it has been nothing but a success. So that’s what I would say to you on Plan Colombia. […]
QUESTION: Well — but just to follow, I mean — in addition to Plan Colombia, I mean, your whole Andean Regional Initiative, which was launched several years ago — why are these countries still the major drug transit or producing nations? I mean, I understand that you say that there’s been some success, but how can you claim it’s a success when out of all the countries in the world, these are still the most major producing and transiting countries?
MS. MCCAMPBELL: Well, my answer to that is they are a success because they are absolutely working with the United States. Those governments are trying their best to keep the coca and the cocaine out of our country, and that’s what we’re striving for.

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