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. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

  3. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  4. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.