In his first executive order, Garcia Padilla has activated the National Guard to fight drug trafficking, and weapons trafficking, in seaport and airports.
Puerto Rico governor activates the National Guard to fight drug trafficking
As the Associated Press reported, this is Garcia Padilla’s first executive order. The plan to put the National Guard to work in this manner had been on the governor’s platform from the start.
When he first presented the proposal during his campaign, the governor said that, in the past, the National Guard had been used ineffectively, but the plan this time was to right those wrongs.
“As a national security issue, we will activate the National Guard intelligently so they are present in seaports and airports, working to interdict the offering of drugs and illegal weapons in Puerto Rico,” Garcia Padilla said last year.
A plague upon the Caribbean
Puerto Rico has often been called the United States’ third border, and drug smuggling is a huge issue on the island. In 2011, an estimate by an economist at the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayaguez campus indicated that $9 billion in drug trafficking activities may have been contributing to 20 percent of Puerto Rico’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
But this is not a problem that only affects Puerto Rico—the trafficking problem extends to the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations as well.
The Caribbean has become big hub for drugs going to both Europe and the United States. A seminar held last month in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, concluded that one of the reasons cocaine trafficking through the Caribbean has skyrocketed—increasing 800 percent in the last two years—is the lack of technology in ports, such as the Multimodal Caucedo Port and the Port of Haina, both located in the Dominican Republic.