Ms. Chinchilla called upon Central American officials to ask for effective action against drug trafficking. The session was hosted by Otto Pérez, the Guatemalan president, who has suggested that a proposal to decriminalize drugs be debated.
Also at the meeting was Ricardo Martinelli, the president of Panamá. Other Central American presidents sent representatives. The session was set up under the auspices of the Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana.
Ms. Chinchilla complained that time has passed and nothing has changed and that any programs have had little impact.
Costa Rica is considered a major transit country for drug shipments from the South. Ms. Chinchilla has shown a tendency to seek help from international bodies. For example when Nicaragua invaded Costa Rica she first sought help from the Organization of American States, then the United Nations and then the International Court of Justice, a U.N. creation.
Costa Rica has avoided the violence that has torn apart Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Still Central American countries have seen expensive efforts to control the flow of drugs, in part, paid for by the United States.
Despite the decades-long fight against drugs, Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of the U.S. Southern command, recently told a congressional committee that about 90 percent of the drugs still get through. The general reported that the command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South confiscated 117 metric tons of cocaine in 2011 but estimated that the total destined for the United States was 1,086 metric tons.
Transnational crime rings “threaten to overwhelm law enforcement capacities, and in an effort to reduce violence and halt the spread of these criminal groups, these countries have deployed their militaries in support of law enforcement organizations,” he noted.
About 90 percent of the drugs bound for the United States pass through Central America, the general said.
As if to prove the point, the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública reported over the weekend that two loads of cocaine had been stopped at the border with Nicaragua.
A 37-year-old Guatemalan trucker was held after 585 kilos of cocaine were found in the floor of the trailer Saturday afternoon. The trailer carried a load of cement.
Wednesday another trucker was found with 290 kilos hidden in the roof of his truck cab, the ministry said.
At Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia, police detained a U.S. woman who was carrying 61 packets of cocaine in her clothes. The arrest was Saturday. Police said the cocaine amounted to 748 grams.