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Hillary Clinton in Guatemala

March 6, 2010

I should have posted this yesterday but wasn’t able to.

So, better late than never.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves from the top step of her plane during her departure from Guatemala City, Guatemala, Friday, March 5, 2010.

From the WaPo:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for Latin America to fight drug corruption in a regional swing that ended Friday in Guatemala, days after that country’s drug czar and national police chief were jailed on suspicion of leading a police ring that stole cocaine from drug traffickers.

The arrests underscored Guatemala’s vulnerability to traffickers, whose billions of dollars in profits and bribes are undermining a fragile country still recovering from years of military rule and civil war.

“Organized crime has infiltrated all aspects of the Guatemalan state, and now rivals it in terms of power and influence,” said Andrew Hudson, senior associate at Human Rights First in New York.

[snip]

Clinton has said that despite increased cooperation in the region against drug traffickers, the Obama administration wants governments there to work harder to confront corruption.

Upon arriving in Guatemala, she praised the arrests and called on officials to “weed out corruption.” Congress has authorized $1.6 billion for fighting drug trafficking in Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti under the three-year Merida Initiative.

“We’re going to be asking more of a lot of our friends,” Clinton said earlier during a stop in Costa Rica. “A number of them are not respecting democratic institutions. A number of them are not taking strong enough stands against the erosion of the rule of law because of the pressure from drug traffickers.”

Guatemala has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world. Drug traffickers and gangs have revived insecurities in the impoverished people, who are recovering from a 36-year civil war that killed 200,000 people, most of them civilians.

In Spanish:







U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Guatemala's President Alvaro Colom shake hands during an official photo in Guatemala City March 5, 2010.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is greeted by Guatemala's Vice-President Rafael Espada upon her arrival in Guatemala City March 5, 2010.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, talks to Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez after having an official picture taken at the presidential palace in Guatemala City, Friday, March 5, 2010

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