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Letter to Congressional Leaders on Major Narcotics Producing and Transit Countries

February 02, 1995

Dear Mr. Chairman:

In accordance with section 490(h) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, I have determined that the following countries are major illicit drug producing or drug transit countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Jamaica, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Venezuela. These countries have been selected on the basis of information from the April 1, 1994, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report and from other United States Government sources.

While it is an important cannabis producer, Morocco does not appear on this list since I have determined that its estimated 30,000 hectares of illicit cannabis cultivation are consumed mostly in Europe and North Africa as hashish and do not significantly affect the United States. (Under section 481(e)(2)(C) of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended by the International Narcotics Control Corrections Act of 1994, the term "major illicit drug producing country" is defined to include countries in which 5,000 hectares or more of illicit cannabis is cultivated or harvested during a year, unless I determine that such illicit cannabis production does not significantly affect the United States.)

This year the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Taiwan, and Vietnam have been added to the list and Belize has been removed for the following reasons:

Dominican Republic and Haiti. These countries share an important location astride one of the key transit routes for drugs moving from South America to the United States. Over the past few years, there has been continuing evidence that Colombian traffickers use the Dominican Republic to transship cocaine bound for the United States. A number of metric ton cocaine seizures in Puerto Rico were delivered in small craft proceeding from Dominican ports. In March 1993, the U.S. Coast Guard seized 756 kilograms of cocaine just south of the Dominican Republic. In June 1993, Dominican authorities seized another 784 kilograms on the country's northern coast. As of November 29, 1994, Dominican authorities had seized 2.6 metric tons of cocaine this year. These record seizures represent an increasingly active and effective counternarcotics effort on the part of the Dominican government in 1994. We look forward to building upon this cooperation in the coming year.

There is strong evidence that much of the cocaine passing through the Dominican Republic was originally delivered on the Haitian side of the island, where until September a chaotic political situation provided an environment for drug trafficking. Before the U.S. intervention, Haitian authorities reported seizing 716 kilograms of cocaine. Accurate measurement of the volume of drugs moving through Haiti, however, was difficult because of the minimal cooperation from the military regime.

Since the intervention, measures taken by the Aristide government, as well as improved cooperation between the Haitian and United States Governments, appear to have drastically reduced trafficking through the Haitian part of Hispaniola. We expect that the return of democratic government will make it harder to move drugs through Haiti, but its geographical location will continue to offer a convenient transshipment point for U.S.-bound drugs. We plan to work closely with Haitian authorities to develop even more effective antidrug programs in the months ahead.

Taiwan. Taiwan has become an important point for the transshipment and repackaging of heroin and should be included on the list on that basis. The recordbreaking U.S. seizures of nearly half a metric ton (486 kilograms) of heroin in 1991 was transshipped through Taiwan. Heroin seizures in Taiwan have risen from 240 kilograms in 1991 to more than one metric ton (1,114 kilograms) in 1993, confirming Taiwan's role as a point of major activity in the heroin trade. Taiwan authorities are aware of the heroin trafficking problem they face and have mounted a vigorous drug enforcement campaign that is responsible for the recent high volume of seizures.

Vietnam. We have no official United States Government estimate of opium cultivation in Vietnam, but the Government of Vietnam and the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) agree that cultivation far exceeds the 1,000-hectare threshold that requires inclusion on the list as a drug producing country. According to the UNDCP, over 14,000 hectares of opium were cultivated in the 1992/93 growing season, 10,000 of which were eradicated and 4,000 harvested. A Government of Vietnam source stated that 3,770 hectares were cultivated in the 1993/94 season. Vietnam also has a worsening drug addiction problem and a growing role as a transit and trafficking point for Southeast Asian heroin.

Belize. Belize was originally listed as a major cannabis producer at a time when the country's marijuana exports were having an impact in the United States. Since joint eradication efforts have effectively reduced cannabis to negligible amounts. Belize has been removed from the list of major drug producing countries. We will be watching to determine whether it becomes a major transit point for drugs moving to the United States.

Although Cambodia and Cuba have not been added to the list during this cycle, their strategic location along major trafficking routes makes them logical prospects for inclusion as major drug transit countries. We do not yet have sufficient information to evaluate either country's importance in the transit of U.S.-bound drugs. We will be observing them closely with the possibility of adding one or both to the list in the future if the circumstances warrant.

In my letter of January 3, 1994, to your predecessors, setting forth last year's list of major illicit drug producing and drug transit countries, I noted that we were examining the possibly significant illicit cultivation of opium poppies in Central Asia and anticipated completion of our assessment by 1995. Because of technical and resource limitations, we do not yet have useful survey results on opium cultivation in Central Asia. We hope to be in a better position to assess the situation by late 1995.



NOTE: Identical letters were sent to Jesse Helms, chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Mark O. Hatfield, chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations; Benjamin A. Gilman, chairman, House Committee on International Relations; and Bob Livingston, chairman, House Committee on Appropriations. The related memorandum of February 28 is listed in Appendix D at the end of this volume.

William J. Clinton, Letter to Congressional Leaders on Major Narcotics Producing and Transit Countries Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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