Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

As drug policy questions arise, Obama focuses on trade with Latin America

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — President Barack Obama came to Latin America eager to move the region's relationship with the United States beyond fighting drugs and organized crime, yet the pervasive problems still trailed him throughout his three-day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica.

In the Costa Rican capital on Friday, Obama defended his administration's efforts to stem U.S. demand for drugs that many regional leaders see as a driving factor in their security issues. He said the United States and Latin America share "common effects and common responsibilities" for the troubles and argued that his country has suffered from the drug epidemic too.

"There's a cost obviously in the United States as well," Obama said during a joint news conference with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla. "It's not as if we don't have tragic drug problems in the United States."

The president singled out the violence that has raged in his hometown of Chicago, where the murder rate has soared, saying there are young people killed there "every day as part of the drug trade."

Obama's visit is his first to Latin America since winning a second term, in part due to the overwhelming support he received from Hispanic American voters. His trip is being followed with great interest by Hispanics in the United States as well as in Mexico, Central America and farther to the south.

In both Mexico and Costa Rica, Obama cast economic growth as the best way to combat violence and keep drugs and organized crime from taking hold of another generation. "We have to make sure that everybody feels opportunity," the president declared in Costa Rica. "Even in countries that are doing well, the scourge of drugs and drug trafficking will still be there. And there still needs to be a strong law enforcement component. But we can do better than we are currently doing." Obama had sounded a similar message earlier Friday in Mexico.

President Barack Obama and Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla shake hands after their news conference in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Friday.

Associated Press

President Barack Obama and Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla shake hands after their news conference in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Friday.

As drug policy questions arise, Obama focuses on trade with Latin America 05/03/13 [Last modified: Saturday, May 4, 2013 12:04am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. At College World Series, the save goes to an LSU dad/doctor

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The father of LSU pitcher Jared Poche' helped revive an 87-year-old man who was slumped on the TD Ameritrade Park concourse with no pulse during Game 1 of the College World Series finals.

    UF’s Tyler Dyson delivers against LSU in Tuesday’s late CWS Game 2. Go to tampabay.com/sports.
  3. Plant City police searching for drive-by shooter

    News

    PLANT CITY — Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in an early morning drive-by shooting outside a home.

    John J. Keeper, 49, was shot in the thigh in a drive-by shooting early Tuesday outside this home at 516 E Laura St. in Plant City. [Hillsborough County Property Appraiser]
  4. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December

    Blogs

    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  5. Taylor Swift congratulates Russell Westbrook on MVP Award

    Blogs