U.S. Praises Cuba’s Record on Narcotics Trafficking

On this March1st the U.S. Department of State released its annual “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report” covering the year 2014. [1]

The Report’s discussion of Cuba is overwhelmingly positive. It states,“Despite its location between the largest exporters of illegal drugs in the hemisphere and the U.S. market, Cuba is not a major consumer, producer, or transit point of illicit narcotics.”

This Cuban success story is a result of Cuba’s sustained anti-narcotics efforts. “Cuba’s domestic production and consumption remain low due to active policing, strict sentencing, and nationwide prevention and educational programs. Cuba’s intensive security presence and interdiction efforts have kept supply down and prevented traffickers from establishing a foothold. Cuba concentrates supply reduction efforts by preventing smuggling through territorial waters, rapidly collecting wash-ups, and conducting thorough airport searches. Cuba dedicates significant resources to prevent illegal drugs and their use from spreading, and regional traffickers typically avoid Cuba.”

The U.S. Report also comments on the excellent U.S.-Cuba cooperation on narcotics trafficking: “The U.S. Interests Section [in Havana] has a USCG Drug Interdiction Specialist to coordinate with Cuban law enforcement. The USCG and Cuban authorities share tactical information related to vessels transiting Cuban territorial waters suspected of trafficking and coordinate responses. . . . Cuba has demonstrated an increased willingness to apprehend and turnover U.S. fugitives and to assist in U.S. judicial proceedings by providing documentation, witnesses, and background for cases in U.S. state and federal courts.”

This excellent record, says the U.S. Report, is expected to continue. “Enhanced communication and cooperation between the [U.S.], international partners, and Cuba, particularly in terms of real-time information-sharing, would likely lead to increased interdictions and disruptions of illegal drug trafficking.”

The Report also covered money laundering and financial crimes. Here too Cuba got good marks. It was placed in the category “Other Jurisdictions Monitored” for those that “do not pose an immediate concern, . . . [but that are] important to monitor their money laundering situations because, under certain circumstances, virtually any jurisdiction of any size can develop into a significant money laundering center.”


[1] Dep’t of State, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (Mar. 2015);  Dep’t of State, Narcotics Control Reports. A Cuban website discussed the latest Report: State Department recognizes that Cuba is an example in the drug fight, CubaDebate (Mar. 21, 2015).