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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
The alarming rate of crime and violence in the Caribbean region cannot be ignored. Several countries have reached the point of crisis, while attempting to counter the social, economic and political repercussions of organized gangs and narcotrafficking.
Murder rates in the Caribbean are higher than in any other region in the world, and have risen in recent years for many of the countries in the region. Recent increases in kidnappings have been observed in the region over the past few years, and assault rates, based on police reports, are significantly above the world average.
Serving as seemingly insurmountable obstacles to the economic and social progress of countries in the Caribbean, the pervasive nature of crime and violence again cannot be ignored. We have a shared responsibility to confront this threat and engage in coordinated efforts that improve the quality of life for all of our communities.
The security threats faced in the Western Hemisphere as a result of violence and narcotrafficking call for strong action on the part of our government. So far, our partnerships with countries throughout the hemisphere are demonstrating significant success in the fight against drugs and crime; such as the case of Colombia, where substantial improvements in security have yielded positive patterns of growth, stability, and investment.
We have good reason to be optimistic, Mr. Speaker. The deadly flow of cocaine into the United States has seen a dramatic decline in the last few months. Purity levels are falling, and retail prices are rising.
We must remain committed to defeating the perilous threats of crime and violence that endanger the youth and prosperity of our Nations today. Together, we must tackle these challenges and strive to further tighten the bonds that hold us together as nearby neighbors.
I am confident that through future cooperation and coordination, we can continue to see success and support the true potential of our friends in the Caribbean.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
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