Belize Seeks U.S. Support to Tackle Drug Trade and Patrolling Challenges
The Ministry of National Defense hopes to procure additional resources from the United States Government to tackle the growing influence of narcos in Belize. Recently, the Minister of National Defense and Border Security, Florencio Marin Jr., met with high-ranking U.S. officials to discuss ways of tackling the drug trade in this region. Marin says that one of the conversations centered on the recent discovery and destruction of a coca plantation in the Toledo District and the difficulties of patrolling remote areas of the country.
Florencio Marin Jr. Minister of National Defense: “It was found, it was destroyed. One of the things I don’t know if you’d call this good news but one of the things I’m told is that the soil here the coca plant was made is not the best soil for the good coca plants so to speak but it’s already a sign of how these people are creeping up and crawling and bringing it into Belize. We now have to be more alert to be able to detect where the plantations may be coming up and to go straight after and once we find them to eradicate them.”
Reporter: Sir can you speak to the difficulty of getting into these areas to do that type of work ?
Florencio Marin Jr. Minister of National Defense: “That is the biggest challenge that the military have. The ability to insert our troops rapidly. Because usually remember these soldiers they’re going on foot patrol and if they encounter any incidences and they report it, it is difficult for us to be able to immediately react and insert more troops. So that is one of the challenges. That’s one of the challenges that we are working on right now hopefully to be able to make the military more mobile.”
Reporter: Were these kinds of discussions brought up as the Ministry and BDF met with the folks that came in from the US recently ?
Florencio Marin Jr. Minister of National Defense: “Yes. These are some of the main issues that we explained to them.They came and they wanted to know what’s happening in Belize and they showed genuine interest in our concerns. We explained that to them from my ministry’s perspective. I explained similar what I just said about the coca plantation, our mobility, and they seemed genuinely concerned about it, and we’ve asked them to where they can to help us, because it is an issue for us. If you noticed a lot of the plane landings that we’ve had, one of the reasons we’re not always successful in capturing the product is because, again, we can’t reach the space fast enough.”