News Briefing – Week of 29 February

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the body responsible for overseeing implementation of UN drug accords, released its last report. The Report contains chapters on the health and welfare of mankind and the international drug control system.

According to the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Belize has become a transshipment point for marijuana and cocaine. One of the main concerns is that the government of Belize continues to encourage offshore financial activities vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing, including offshore banks, insurance companies, trust service providers, mutual fund companies and international businesses.

After a year-long study on drug money in politics in Peru, sociologist Jaime Antezana reported that 5 out of 18 of the Peruvian presidential candidates have links with drug trafficking (especially with cocaine) and this number has been increasing in the last months. According to Antezana, their campaign money comes directly from drug trafficking and money laundering.

Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva was detained for questioning in a federal investigation of a bribery and money laundering scheme that police said had financed campaigns and expenses of the ruling Workers Party.

According to the INCB Report, Africa is still a key transit point for drug trafficking. Reportedly, the growing middle class in parts of Africa, especially in countries such as Benin and Namibia, have become an emerging market for drugs as traffickers seek and target them for their illicit trade.

The UN has registered an increasing correlation between developments in drug trafficking, drug use and criminal violence in Latin America. According to the recently released INCB Report, drug trafficking is also contributing to rising drug use in countries involved in drug production and transshipment.

According to Bolivian newspapers, in the first two months of 2016 the Special Fighting Force Against Drug Trafficking (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico – FELCN) seized 69.48 tons of drugs, nearly as much as the 70 tons seized in the first seven months of 2015.

According to new figures produced by the National Institute of Legal Medicine, El Salvador has turned into is the world’s most violent country and its capital, San Salvador, is the world’s most homicidal city. The national homicide rate is reportedly of almost 116 per 100,000, more than 17 times the global average. Traffic in cocaine is considered one of the main causes for increased violence and killings in the country.