President Joe Biden released a memorandum on Wednesday, Sept. 15, ranking the major drug transit countries and major producers of illicit drugs in the 2022 fiscal year.
The document lists several Latin American countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
"The reason countries are included on the list is the combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow for the transit or production of drugs, even if a government has taken strong and diligent narcotics control and law enforcement measures," Biden said in the document released by the White House.
Under a law passed by Congress, each year, the U.S. president-elect must send Congress a memorandum identifying the major drug-producing countries — or countries that serve as transit countries for drugs — and also determine which of them have failed to meet their international commitments in the area.
This year, Biden highlighted Colombia and Mexico as key countries in the fight against drug trafficking.
"My Administration will seek to expand cooperation with key partners, such as Mexico and Colombia, to shape a collective and comprehensive response and expand efforts to address the production and trafficking of dangerous synthetic drugs that are responsible for many of our overdose deaths, particularly fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and methamphetamine," the president said in his report.
In the sanctioned category, the president only included Venezuela and Bolivia as failing to comply with their obligations. Both countries have been the only in Latin America and the Caribbean to fail the test or be "decertified" for several years.
"They have not made substantial efforts over the previous 12 months to meet their obligations under international agreements to combat drug trafficking," he said.
Biden noted that "the drug addiction and overdose epidemic in the United States is one of my Administration's top public health priorities," and that, in addition to domestic investments, he will need "greater cooperation with foreign partners to attack the suppliers of illicit drugs and the criminal organizations that profit from them."
This announcement by Biden is a precursor to the State Department certifying the work of these countries in their counter-drug efforts this year and designating funds from the FY 2022 budget to continue the work.