Sunday, April 09, 2006

Cuba seeking credit with U.S. for anti-drug effort

Reuters is reporting, via MSNBC that Cuban officials are seeking credit with the U.S. for intercepting drug shipments that are destined for the U.S.
Two Cuban officials are quoted in the story. They say that Cuba will not sign a U.S.-inspired Caribbean-wide anti-drug agreement because, they imply, its terms undermine Cuban sovereignty. Cuba is willing, they say, to sign a bilateral anti-drug agreement with the U.S. They say that every time Cuban authorities make a drug seizure they notify U.S. anti-drug agencies in Florida.

Why is this in the news? My guess is that in the elaborate chess game of the U.S.-Cuban conflict, Cuban political strategists are looking to get credit with Americans for whom the drug issue is important. This could include the constituents of Republican Members of Congress who have traditionally been the most intensely anti-Castro. South Florida, the home of the most Cuban-Americans has been a locus of intense anti-drug politics since the 1980s.

Or this "news" may be designed to attempt to position Cuba as more friendly to the U.S. than Hugo Chavez' Venezuela.

It is unlikely that this is in the news because a reporter wanted to track down the explanation of a diminution in the availability of cocaine and marijuana in the U.S., and this was the result of a great deal of digging. (Especially there has not been a dramatic decline in such availability.)

If Cuba wants to take a greater role in reducing the hemispheric (and U.S.) supply of cocaine, a potentially higher payoff approach probably would be for it to pressure FARC in Colombia to find other sources of revenue than the cocaine trade, and to suppress it in the territory they control.

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