Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairman, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, co-chairman, of the Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today made the following comments on a new Government Accountability Office report, "Status of Funding, Equipment, and Training for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative." The report is available here.
Senator Feinstein said: "We must ensure the expedited delivery of our security assistance to the Caribbean in order to counter the drug trafficking threats facing the United States and our partners in the region. As our counternarcotics enforcement efforts increase in Mexico and Central America, it is critical we remain committed to the Caribbean to ensure the drug trade does not return."
Sen. Grassley said: "Drug trafficking organizations are good at shifting their operations and trafficking routes to the paths of least resistance. When we cracked down on the drug traffickers in Mexico, they increased their presence farther south in the countries of Central America. Now, as we help Central America strengthen its counternarcotics efforts, we have to make sure we don't squeeze the balloon in Central America and shift drug trafficking operations back into the Caribbean. The GAO report shows that the funding Congress allocated to help the Caribbean countries shore up their counternarcotics efforts is being put to use at a slow speed. The U.S. government needs to ensure that needed new programs are set up as soon as possible and ready to receive U.S. funding. Enabling these programs will give Caribbean nations a needed boost in fighting the drug trafficking that damages their countries and the United States. Using the money already allocated is important in light of sequester-related security reductions in the Caribbean by the Coast Guard and other U.S. entities."