Guatemala’s most influential newspaper, Prensa Libre, published a strong criticism of the United States’ recent comments about fighting drugs.
The editorial, published this Friday, June 16, was a strongly worded critique of the Trump administration’s contradictory approach to fighting the “War on Drugs.”
Vice President Mike Pence, it said, had mentioned at the Central American Economic and Security Conference held in Miami that his government had to do everything necessary to keep the country safe from drug trafficking and corruption.
Pence’s comment made clear reference to problems taking place in the so-called Northern Triangle — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — a region with high levels of violence and the largest population of immigrants arriving to the United States.
The editorial said the only point of the meeting for the Vice President seemed to be to “urge Central American leaders and authorities to maintain a straight-forward fight against drug trafficking.” However, the newspaper also said that Pence’s speech “did not make the slightest mention of the enormous problem that this activity entails, due to the excessive consumption by the US market.”
Unlike Pence, the editorial said, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has acknowledged that the problem is not only focused in Central America, but also at home, with the consumers of the drug.
According to Prensa Libre, the Trump administration’s “inconsistency is clear when it increases pressure on these governments, but with a paradoxical reduction of economic assistance.”
Pence said his country’s contributions to the North Triangle would be cut from US $650 million to US $460 million. He tried to argue that what the US government saves with that cut will be then invested in border security, but the Guatemalan newspaper claimed that’s unrealistic.
“We will make sure that our borders are closed to those who seek to harm us and are insurmountable for the drugs that are ravaging our families and communities,” Pence said.
Washington is committed to a reduction in economic assistance, the publication claimed, and greater pressure to deal with insecurity and corruption.