San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. secretary of Homeland Security to visit Guatemala for talks on drug policing

GUATEMALA CITY – U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will visit Guatemala next week for talks on President Otto Pérez Molina’s bold proposal to legalize illicit drug production and consumption, authorities said Saturday.

“This is a high-level visit. We hope to take up important issues for us, such as drug trafficking [and] legalization of drugs,” Pérez Molina said late Friday after a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Arnold Chacón.

The meeting was his first since the president of this Central American nation unveiled a proposal on Monday after meeting with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes.

Pérez Molina thinks the legalization plan should be adopted in all countries that are used as transit points as well as for production and consumption of illegal narcotics for it to be effective.

The president told the state news agency AGM that Chacón understood “Guatemala’s position, and that the issue will not create clashes or distancing between nations.”

According to U.S. data, 90 percent of cocaine shipped from South America to the lucrative U.S. market passes through Central American nations like Guatemala.

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