San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Chinchilla Makes Plea for Help at United Nations

Laura Chinchilla used a portion of her 18 minutes on stage before the General Assembly of the United Nations this week to issue a call for more help in stemming drug-trafficking.

She said, “The great battle against crime requires much more from us. We can only win with coordination and global cooperation and a thorough revision of the strategies pursued so far, many of them failed.”

Her country was just tagged onto the “Majors List” of drug-trafficking countries, which is developed by the United States to identify countries where intervention is needed.

In her speech, she said, “It is paradoxical that while many countries squander money on arms, the international community has failed to effectively tackle the scourges of drug trafficking, organized crime, terrorism, arms trafficking and human trafficking.”

“My country and the rest of Central America are suffering due to the increased strength of drug cartels,” she said. “We are at risk of virtually being taken over by their gangs, with consequences that transcend our region and become clear challenges to international security.”

The rest of her discourse followed the lead of her predecessor, Oscar Arias, who used his time in the international spotlight to push issues such as the curtailment of arms and the abolishment of armies.

Chinchilla said that the transfer and purchase of arms “threatens peace and   survival and are affronts to development.”

“If Costa Rica, a middle-income    country, has achieved human development indexes comparable to those of high- income countries, it is because, among other things, our social investment has replaced military spending,” said Chinchilla, who entered office in May  as the country’s first woman president.

She urged the international organization to begin negotiation on a treaty governing the transfer of arms.

Chinchilla arrived in New York City on Sunday and is staying at Hotel Lombardy in midtown Manhattan. Along with appealing for foreign investment on major media networks and before corporate audiences, she met with the heads of state of Japan, Canada and Jordan and spoke before the General Assembly for Millennium Development Goals. She is due back in Costa Rica at 6:20 p.m. Saturday.

Other headlines from the meeting include the announcement of a $40 billion drive to improve global health, the anti-capitalism speech of and protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the murder of a Nicaraguan diplomat.

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