- Title: Cuba says regional marijuana liberalization is fueling trafficking
- Date: 22nd June 2017
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (JUNE 22, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SECRETARY OF CUBA'S NATIONALS DRUG COMMISSION, ANTONIO ISRAEL IBARRA, SAYING: "In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are a group of countries that are trying or have tried or have legalized in some cases the use especially of marijuana. We have not legalized it nor do we intend to legalize it. Also, since the rapprochement with the United States and since the signing of certain agreements with the United States which decreased the trafficking of people, the number of gangs of criminals dedicated to trafficking people internationally has decreased and they have reorganized their activity and organized themselves and have begun to traffic drugs."
- Embargoed: 6th July 2017 21:51
- Keywords: drugs seizures crime trafficking
- Location: HAVANA AND UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, CUBA
- City: HAVANA AND UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA0036MD2A1X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The liberalization of marijuana laws is fueling drug trafficking but Cuba will not follow the trend of loosening restrictions on marijuana, a government official said on Thursday (June 22).
Antonio Israel Ibarra, the secretary of the National Drugs Commission, gave no specific figures for comparison but said Cuba had seized triple the amount of drugs from traffickers so far in 2017 compared with the same period last year.
He said Cuba would not be joining countries in the region that have legalized cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Ibarra said another reason for the higher seizure rate of drugs was that criminal bands that used to smuggle people were reorganizing themselves to traffic drugs, now that the United States no longer offers Cubans special immigration treatment.
The United States in January ended its longstanding policy of admitting Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil. Cuba had said that policy encouraged its citizens to undertake dangerous voyages on the high seas and put their lives in the hands of traffickers.
Ibarra said the United States and Cuba continued to cooperate on drug trafficking issues, within the framework agreed upon last year and despite a fresh chill in U.S.-Cuban relations under President Donald Trump.
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