U.S. President Barack Obama added Belize and El Salvador to a blacklist of countries considered to be major illicit drug producing and/or drug transit countries, the State Department said Thursday. Costa Rica is also one of the 22 countries on the list.
Susan Pittman, a State Department spokeswoman, told AFP that cartels shipping drugs through Mexico to the United States are now using Belize and El Salvador as corridors for narcotics produced in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador.
Previously blacklisted were Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Myanmar, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Those 20 countries were also blacklisted by Obama again this year, the State Department said.
Naming the same three countries as he did on September 15, 2010, Obama also determined that Myanmar, Bolivia and Venezuela “failed demonstrably” in the last year to fight the drugs trade, the State Department said.
“In the cases of Bolivia and Venezuela, the president has waived possible sanctions under U.S. law, so that the United States may continue to support specific programs to benefit the Bolivian and Venezuelan people,” it said.
As for Myanmar, there was no cooperation to begin with, officials said.