Trump delivers shock rebuke to Colombia over cocaine surge
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening that he may decertify Colombia as a partner in the war against drugs unless the South American nation reverses a record surge in cocaine production.
The shock rebuke for Washington’s staunchest ally in Latin America came Wednesday in the White House’s annual designation of nations it deems major drug-producing or drug-transit zones.
Colombia, the source of 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the U.S., has long been a fixture on the list, which was unchanged from last year. But not since the late 1990s, when contributions from the Cali cartel funded the campaign of Colombia’s thenPresident Ernesto Samper, has the country’s commitment to fighting narcotics trafficking been called into question by Washington.
Twenty-two countries were designated by the U.S. as major drug transit zones Wednesday, and only Venezuela and Bolivia were deemed once again not to be fulfilling their international obligations to combat drug production and trafficking. The leftist governments of both those nations are hostile to the U.S.
Yet, in a statement, Trump said he “seriously considered” also decertifying Colombia because of the “extraordinary” growth of coca cultivation and cocaine production to record levels over the past year.