Chinchilla’s regional charm
offensive focuses on crime fight
Costa Rican President-elect Laura Chinchilla is expected to continue her Latin American tour this week in Mexico and Colombia, pursuing the crime-fighting theme that has topped her tour’s agenda so far.
Chinchilla’s itinerary has already included stops in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama, visits that were likely to shore up the former vice president’s diplomatic credentials ahead of her May 8 inauguration.
Last Wednesday in Panama, Chinchilla said she and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli plan to combat organized crime head-on.
“We’re about to initiate a series of security operations to stem drug trafficking and money laundering,” Chinchilla said. “This is an opportune moment to coordinate with our Panamanian counterparts, because this fight can only be won if we do it together.”
A U.S. State Department report released in March said drug runners have shifted their operations to smuggling corridors in Central America. Recent police operations in Costa Rica suggest this country increasingly has become a storage and finance destination for regional drug traffickers.
Narcotics officials here claim that the region’s swelling drug problem has grown in part from hard crackdowns in countries such as Mexico and Colombia.
Chinchilla’s visits also have touched on another prickly regional issue: Honduras. Chinchilla is lobbying for a swift re-entry of the Central American country into the Organization of American States, after that body suspended Honduras following the June coup. Chinchilla met April 12 with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, who took office in January after a controversial November election.
Word of the Day
Main Entry: stem
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): stemmed; stem·ming
Etymology: Middle English (Scots) stemmen to keep a course, from 1stem (of a ship)
1: to make headway against (as an adverse tide, current, or wind)
2: to check or go counter to (something adverse)
— stem·mer noun
Crackdown: n. the severe or stern enforcement of regulations, laws, etc., as to root out abuses or correct a problem
Credentials: n. evidence of authority, status, rights, entitlement to privileges, or the like, usually in written form
Prickly: adj. full of troublesome points
Pursue: v. to proceed in accordance with
Smuggle: v. to import or export (goods) secretly, in violation of the law, esp. without payment of legal duty
So far: idiom. Up to now
Love those Phrasal Verbs!
Shore up: to support
The new law was designed to shore up banks in danger of failure.