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tv   Senator Marco Rubio Delivers Remarks on Transnational Organized Crime and...  CSPAN  June 26, 2017 3:47pm-5:26pm EDT

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moment live on c-span 3.
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good afternoon everybody. if i could ask everybody who is filing in to just be seated. thank you so much. good afternoon everybody and welcome to the american enterprise institute. i am the senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies here. and i am genuinely delighted that we have senator marco rubio here with us today to help us role out this new report. i have my props here. i feel like vanna white. it is the product of the aei working group on transnational
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organized crime in americas. i don't think that marco rubio needs a lot of introduction to this audience, but i am going to give you a word or two nonetheless and then hand things over and do a little bit of housekeeping. the united states senator from florida. he is a member of the committee on appropriations and the committee on foreign relations and he has a resume much longer that i am not going to keep reading. but to us a leader on international affairs. somebody who our country turns to to hear where we should be going on these issue. and for us today at aei we are proud that he has been a leader on issues that are of importance to us. the report is you are going to hear a lot more about it than
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you are going to hear from me at this very moment. but this is a report that is a little bit different than things you usual see coming institute. it's very practical. it's very tactical. it's very focused on what we can do in the here and the now and the main reason for that is frankly, transactional organized crime is an issue that we have not spent a great deal focusing on as a country. it is at the next us of a whole series of national security threats to our country. it degrades democracy, it degrades our national security. it degrades our hemisphere and it introduces threats to us that otherwise would not be here. now just in the context of what this report talks about, earlier
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this month two hezbollah operatives were arrested who had been scouting the panama canal. the report profiles ms-13 which the trump administration has been going after which is an instrument for all of these disparate threats to our country that come together. so i know rojer and the senator will spend a lot of time talking about these issues. i have a housekeeping item, and i have to read it to you because i don't understand because i'm technologically inept. so we are going to be taking questions from the audience through an online system today. you can feel free to submit your questions now, which causes you all to look at your phones, but feel free to submit your questions now following the senator's remarks. to submit your question go to slido, just like it sounds, sfrmt
3:52 pm and then it will be chosen to be read on stage. i hope it works. senator, if we can ask you to come up to the podium. the senator will give a few minutes' address and sit down with roger noriega to take additional questions and then to take questions from the audience. [ applause ] >> thank you very much 37 thank you, danielle, thank you all for your kind introduction. i want to thank ambassador noriega and the other members of the working group for inviting me here today and your new report is timely and your recommendations are important for policymakers and for lawmakers such as myself in congress to weigh and to consider transactional organized crime isn't a new threat to the united states and the western hemisphere and it's an increasingly dangerous one. it resides at the heart of nearly every major threat confronting the americas today, whether it's the deadly opioid
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crisis and the catastrophic collapse of oil-rich venezuela or debilitating gang violence throughout central america which spills over into the streets of american cities and a.i.'s report continues. these crisis can be traced to criminal networks that garner billions from the human trafficking and extortion. while the u.s. government has long acknowledged the threats posed by transnational organized crime, for too many years it's not done enough to deal with these threats. such neglect has led to the death and suffering of far too many people. throughout the hemisphere and here at home. we begin with venezuela, where the maduro regime has undermined the constitution, and it's imprisoned and tortured its opposition members and it's killed protesters with impunity and it's destroyed the economy and one of the richest countries in the world in terms of resources. venezuela is an oil state that's also rich in farmland, by the way, and yet it's corrupt and
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dictatorial government, and the growing transactional criminal networks are getting exposed. we see the maduro government is not just a dictatorship, it's also a criminal enterprise. for example, the department imposed sanctions against venezuelan vice president on the 13th of february of this year naming him a narcotics trafficker under the kingpin act for playing a role in trafficking. his main frontman, jose lopez bello was also sanctioned. last november, a federal court in the united states convicted two of president maduro's nephews, efrain, two years ago the u.s. justice department officials told "the wall street
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journal" that cabe, well lo was the head of the a drug cartel. upon the president's nephews and the former members of the assembly are accused of being accused in transnational organized crime. colombia, we are seeing growing concerns with the peace agreement with the farc. many farc weapons remain unaccounted for and too many farc members are joining remnant groups and continuing to profit on illegal narcotics trafficking. america's foreign assistance and military and law enforcement relationship with colombia must continue. between fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2016 the u.s. congress appropriated more than $10 billion in aid under planned colombia and successive strategies. peace in colombia cannot come at any cost. farc members must be held accountable by the judicial system and colombia must extradite farc members in the united states and they should face justice here, too.
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in large part because of the farc's decision to come into the jungle, it is another major concern feeding skepticism about the peace deal. coca production somebodies have increased during peace negotiations, increasing 14 1% from 20 twefrl to 2016 including a sharp rise in 2015. these developments are likely the direct result of the government's 2015 decision to end the eradication of coca plants. i personally believe it was a mistake in part as a concession to the farc to achieve a peace deal in colombia. now the gulf clan, colombia's largest drug gang, the eln and other farc-like group that deals with marxist terrorist and drug trafficking and paramilitary groups known as bandas criminales or bacrim. it controls 70% of the cocaine production according to the police and the elm has an
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estimated 1500 fighters making it one-fifth the size of the farc's paramilitary force. mexico, we've had transnational organizationized crime as a problem on a staggering scale since 2006 when mexico began its big push against those cartels. some estimate 130,000 people have been killed. that's equal to the population of gainesville, florida. the mexican cartels are fighting to bring drugs into our country that poison and kill people a record high number of americans nearly 60,000 died last year from drug-related deaths and of particular concern is an increase in mexican heroin and methamphetamine production and the trafficking of fentanyl manufactured in china. unlike venezuela we have a willing partner. since 2008, the united states congress has 2.8 billion to combat the cartels. the fight cannot be won only with money and guns, we must
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also provide assistance to mexican courts and law enforcement any public officials. the report released by ai say 12 former mexican govern -- notes that at least 12 former mexican governors are accused of corruption, money laundering or narcotics trafficking and an astounding seven of ten crimes in mexico are not even reported. if the people do not trust their institutions from the local police to the neighborhoods and elected officials, the mexican government will struggle tol win this fight which is one of the reasons why i continue to work to ensure that we keep foreign assistance strong. these funds are not just going to the world's poor and they're going to the programs that work with other countries to bolster law enforcement and the rule of law and the stability of democrat see. these funds have a direct impact on the security and they're essential this year. so what are some of the solutions and i hope we'll get into them some today. the first is to continue the funding of development aid and security programs integral it
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encountering transnational criminal organizations in the western hemisphere. in venezuela, the trevistas are the root problem. i are in addition to ratcheting up sanctions on anyone in venezuela o proesing the people not just at the lower levels and we hope to support the venezuelan people, which is why the member of the senate appropriations committee i'm asking for promotion programs and hopefully for transitional funds so that when maduro and his cronies are removed there will be funds available to assist venezuela in recovering from this long nightmare. in colombia, we need to reassure the colombian people that the united states supports the implementation of all those elements of security and the that it will come with conditions. the colombian people will have democratic elections next year and we'll need to work with the new colombian government to ensure that the crimes committed
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by the farc don't go unpunished and that the victims of the farc are adequately compensated. we need to encourage areas to assume eradication of coca plants and the threat of heroin is on the rise with poppy cultivation now present in guatemala and colombia increasingly in mexico and we hope to aggressively target them as well. they must be brought to justice by fully utilizing all tools including the king pin act. mexico, as i said earlier, we continue to support the fight against cartels while working with our partners in the mexican government on improving its legal system, its law enforcement and respect for human rights. the tide will only begin to swing against the cartels when ordinary mexicans feel like their government is there for them and have the ability to keep them safe and here at home, we must confront directly the scourge of drug abuse and dependence and the demand pressure that it create which is
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is a major contributor to all of these problems that i just outlined. in conclusion, as i said at the beginning i feel that our hemisphere has for far too long received too little attention. it relies in part sharing our values and creating free, stable and democratic societies that protect their people and reward their citizens with opportunities for their hard work and their entrepreneurship. in colombia, we've seen how our assistance doctor dollars with the hard work and sacrifice of the colombian people never to return on the foreign assistance investment. an excellent starting point for ensuring that the americas remains a priority i believe was found in this report today. as the report makes clear in its strong recommendations, we have a lot of work to do, but these are all things that given the proper motivation we can do. we must do, and i believe we will do and we must do so both
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for our neighbors and for ourselves. so i thank you for the chance to make these introductory remarks and i look forward to the session of answering questions and hopefully learning more about the way forward from you and hopefully you'll have insight to offer in that regard, as well. thank you. [ applause ] let me just, as a reminder to submit questions for consideration. please go to, and enter the code where you will be prompted to answer a question. thank you very much for coming. >> thank you. >> i must say your remarks summarized this problem in a very efficient, effective way and it really demonstrates your commitment on this issue.
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you are in the united states senate where i used to work as a staffer and the senate foreign relations committee and the subcommittee chairman for the western hemisphere and a member of the intel committee and a member of the appropriations committee which makes you my new best friend as we go after these important issues. >> i forgot to turn the mike on. did i turn it on? i know that one was on. how did it work even though i had it off? >> the work we presented here makes use of a couple of areas and the use of the symmetrical tools and as a way of getting at king pings and also to identify where their assets are and freeze those assets. these are extraordinarily important in terms of the narc
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onarco kingpins and they as what the justice department called the biggest cocaine producer in the world didn't make a profit because they don't have any money and what they can carry in a knapp sack and they're between 2 billion and $10 billion. how would you react to the idea that an initiative that insists that the u.s. executive branch goes after these things targets as priorities to seize those assets and maybe if necessary, new legislation to give them the authority to repatriate that money to colombia or stolen assets to venezuela. >> i think a lot of the framework for that already exists in the current law. i think it's a matter of approximately see and direct, and ordering our instruction treasury and all of the other elements to our national power to identify where these funds are being placed and to use our influence over the world banking
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system to gain access to these funds and not to keep them to ourselves, but rather to send them to these countries and to fund their efforts and also to make clear to transnational groups that the world banking system is not their background. that they will not be allowed to continue to use it to launder their funds and to hide away the ill-gotten gains and i do think it's an important tool that should be applied or can be applieded and i just know from limited experience, i've been here for six and a half years that many of these agencies it isn't going to happen unless they're specifically directed to do as a policy initiative and it's one of the strongest recommendations of the report that i hope can turn into a directive for policymakers. >> regarding colombia, it's a -- one of the most important issues we're struggling with is the colombian with the the insurgency and lending this group that hasn't denounced --
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renounced the armed conflict, but has not renounced its marxist objectives and how do we -- how can we best assist them in this process as we endeavor not to save the peace process is to save colombia from this criminality. colombia is a republic and its leaders are responsive to the people of colombia. as a partner it's our job to make them could that we will continue to contribute to these efforts that took a nation on the verge of collapse of being a failed state and brought it to a point of relative prosperity or security for a significant period of time and i think we're prepared to continue to endeavor in that regard. what i don't think we can allow and this is as an american senator and someone who needs to answer the people of florida and the people of the country to how their taxpayer money is being spent is that in any of those funds would unfairly benefit the
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farc, we want to make sure that our funds are being sure that the systems are set up so victims are compensated and not through american funds and we want to make sure there isn't the creation by these courts whereby people who partnered with us are unfairly put on trial and treated like criminals themselves and we certainly want to make sure that none of the funds on the american taxpayer that we still designate as a terrorist group and many of those leaders are still wanted for extradition and upwards of 60 for crimes committed against the citizens. as long as we're fair, frank, direct and to the point we'll have an opportunity to work with the santos administration and whatever succeeds this administration in colombia. and the absence of that, i think, unfortunately, if in fact our dollars are not producing results there could be real challenges to continuing our partnership in this regard, and to me, this is not just about preserving our relationship. it's about ensuring that we're getting results from it that we
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can justify that the american taxpayer at a time when there is an effort to reduce u.s. foreign engagement in the world both direct and indirect. >> the president just made some -- took some steps regarding u.s. policy toward cuba and engagement with the cuban regime and one of the things that the obama administration was proud of was this so-called anti-drug cooperation with the castro government and we were told by the administration in private briefings that that sort of thing would continue how would you assess the value of that kind of cooperation? how would you assure it is used for our essential national security interests. >> i'm sorry -- >> with the cuban regime and an anti-drug area because they're in the transit zone. >> first of all, it benefits the
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cuban government not to find itself in the situation, and strong allegations to how it alloweded and our goal in cuba is pretty straightforward and we want a nation that has the same rights as people virtually everywhere in this hemisphere. over the last 20 years every country in the western hemisphere has had one free and fair election except for cuba. that may not be the case any longer in places like nicaragua and bolivia and venezuela, but they've had some experience with democracy in the last two decades except for cuba, and we remain hopeful that will that day is coming, understanding that it isn't going to be from one day to the next. it will be a process of transition, and we want to make sure that american policy towards cuba is incentivizing as op foezed to providing funds for the status quo to become embedded which is the goal of the castro regime is to have the world basically accept their undemocratic system of government and how it's the
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concrete dry on that and become a permanent fixture in the hemisphere and that's something that u.s. foreign policy would not be encouraging. within that realm, it behooves the government to cooperate with everyone when it comes to drug trafficking and the worst thing that could possibly happen for them is to be designated as a nation that cooperates with transnational groups and i believe it would further isolate them from the region and ultimately from the world. >> do you think it's possible, those of us who understand what's going on in venezuela, i know you certainly do, understand that cuba is playing an extraordinary role. >> maduro would not have been in power by direct interference and not through advice, but security agency and apparatus. you see today many of the key functions in the venezuelan government are operated by cuban operatives who came over from the island for that purpose so
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it is a direct, basically, invasion of the institutions of venezuela. whether it's the personal direction that surrounds maduro or the office or how the national guard is confronting protesters in the streets, all of these things are being directed and in many ways by cubans and in many ways they're directly participating in these acts. so there is no doubt in the minds of any venezuela and no doubt in the minds of people in the hemisphere that the cuban government is the single biggest reason why mad our is unconstitutional because that's what we point to all of the time and a lot of colleagues are not aware of this that protesters and the opposition in venezuela are asking for is for them to follow the constitution. the chavez constitution that calls for elections every two years and for the national assembly to be the chief legislative body and all these things have been cancelled and ignored through the assistance and the direct assistance of the cuban regime. >> fair enough. very clear, but we call
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venezuela a narco state. we say maduro's family is involved and the vice president is directly involved and if that's the case and cuba is managing venezuela, is the cuban government -- >> absolutely. of course, they are. >> the cubans are well aware of how they make their money and obviously their conscience is not heavy in terms of being cooperative in that regard. i imagine what you've seen in the last 15 years although i would imagine there's slipage is that the cuban government has not allowed cuba to be a direct transit point and that doesn't mean they're not allowing the networks and they were the host for the colombians and that was with the farc that they knew was a narco trafficking group and they provided support for them and in many cases asylum and/or protection for the key leaders. >> well stated. >> there are some who are skeptical about the so-called
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war on drugs, this overall coercive strategy. someone here asks, what will you say to those who disagree with your views on that, whatever those are. >> you see the impact that drug abuse has in this country and it's illegal. imagine if it was legal and allowed. -- there is an outage that if something is not illegal it can't be that bad so no doubt this country is paying a tremendous price already for an abusive drugs and one of the biggest things we can do to help with this is to deal with our consumption issue in the united states which is a major one. without u.s. consumption that's the single greatest market for these groups, but i think it goes further than that. if you look at these transnational criminal groups they're a parasitic entities and they're a cancer. they undermine and directly -- they directly undermine and threaten the rule of law in any one of these countries. they control territory and converting them into ungoverned
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cases and they undermine the international community and the international business community's confidence in the countries that they're in. they are enormous security threat and in many parts of those countries they rival the countries in terms of providing money or security, you will of these things are major threats and if you look at the migratory threats, a lot of it is people fleeing ms-13 violence in central america and other sorts of problems throughout the region. in the end if our hope is to have stable nation states and come to the united states because they either come here legally or because they come here to invest or come here as tourists. if that is our goal, you can't do that in nations in which a significant amount of its capital is being spent managing attacking these groups and taking these groups on and you can't do that in places in which these transnational criminal
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groups undermine the legitimacy of the state. >> one of our computer i literal friends, you call the mexican government a, quote, a willing partner, is that at risk with the upcoming mexican elections? >> i hope not. it's up for the people of mexico to decide. it's not venezuela and not cuba. they'll have a free and fair election and they'll decide new leadership and that will be debated. we should be prepared to work with whoever wins and should be because it's an important relationship and obviously, that's a question that will be answered in the upcoming elections there, but my hope is that it remains steady, irrespective and it's in the best interest of mexico and the united states for that to be the case. >> one of the concerns, to go back to colombia is whether the colombian government would have sufficient resources to take on
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the so-called farc dissidents and that have not taken advantage of the peace process. do we need to think about the shifting u.s. support over to the security side of things, more than the economic and social side? >> in colombia. >> they're interrelated. >> it's difficult to have economic growth and stability if the you don't have security first. companies will not invest capital in places where they think they feel threatened or where they think the rule of law doesn't apply. tourism isn't going to grow. people are not going to visit places that they think are inherently dangerous. we had a bombing in a mall, if we were to return to those days that would be problematic and a state cannot fund governmental services unless it has an economy that generates the revenue necessary for those purposes. so they're intricately related. security has to exist before there can be economic growth there.
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you can't have one without the other. >> and the related question here on nafta. would you say that nafta has played a role in driving impoverished mexicans and central americans in order to make ends meet. >> nafta has benefits and costs and that's part of american commerce. if you're an american manufacturer or a manufacturer sector worker, nafta has been threatening in some respect. i think it has to be viewed in the context holistically. by and large, the relationship between not just mexico, the united states and canada, the market has been a general positive. like any trade deal that was created before the internet exploded and before google and all of these other -- amazon existed. there is a need to modernize it and there is an effort to do that now and it's been moved in a way that's been positive up to this point and ultimately, i think it behooves us. i think nafta properly
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modernized is an answer and not a problem. >> one final question -- >> let me just add one more thing. you want to get into crop replacement and you want to the go in and basically convince someone who is in the drug economy to produce something else and so in colombia it's been an effort to produce cacao or chocolate. that will have to be some really good chocolate to equate what the cost benefits are from being in the drug production. so you need to provide economic opportunities besides simply agriculture for people not to be dependent on that sort of thing for their economic wherewithal, and so that's a key component. economic growth can contribute to security if they can provide an environment where people do not have to rely on those nefarious industries to provide for their families. >> i have a bigger problem with chocolate than i have with cocaine. >> and i'm not against them
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going in the chocolate direction. i'm just saying that alone is not going to do it. >> it would certainly benefit, i suppose. one final question, how do you believe that sanctuary cities affect our ability to combat transnational crime? >> i imagine to the extent that people believe they can violate laws and it does not put them in danger of interacting with law enforcement it's problematic. i don't believe it will solve the problem. these are intricate networks and distribution that include americans on this side of the border that include the network. if you look at the network of distribution and the cross-border operation will involve nationals of other countries and once it gets to i-10 and comes east to the southern states and up north on 95. those are american organized crime groups that are helping with the distribution internally. it's called transnational for a reason and these are intricate
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networks and organizations that operate cross borders on multiple countries including distributors at the state and local levels that are americans. the typical heroin dealer in the united states is not from some other country and it is someone who lives here. >> the supply was trafficked in from multiple country and we have a network within this country that needs to be con front are fronted and sanctuary cities will not help with that. >> i lied and let me ask you one more question and it gives you an opportunity to get on the right side of the white house. you already are, i'm sure. >> on some things, yeah. >> good luck with that, definitely. >> president gets a lot of criticism and isn't setting up his team quickly enough and the state department and this is something that came up with secretary of state tillerson a while back. how do you think he's doing so far in latin america?
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and i have my own -- i guess i have to admit i'm positively surprised by how he's oriented and where his team is headeded and what direction they're headed on with a couple of different crises they're confronting and how do you rate that and what do you think his biggest priority is. >> i think there is a willingness to engage in the western hemisphere. it's not like we're going from an era of hyperengagement to dramatic drop-off. by and large the western hemisphere has been largely neglected since the end of the cold war and that remains the case and you see that both in the professionals entering the field and also where the attention is and for obvious reasons, right? after 9/11, a lot of the focus was on the middle east and now with russia, crimea and ukraine that's captured a lot of attention and the history of the 21st century will largely be determined by the relationship of china and the asia pacific region and an understanding that
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regional stability is the one of the most important things we can do for economic prosperity and the our ownin term prosperity in the united states. hopefully we can provide input as to what that means and how best to construct it. >> we thank you very much, senator, for your terrific discussion of this issue. obviously, your serious attention that you're giving is this problem that we're c confronting and identifying the opportunities for getting ahead of the crisis. thank you very much. god bless. >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, sir. appreciate it. where do you want me? >> we're going to ask our other panelists to join us.
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>> she has an order. i'm at the end. >> oh, you're at the end. >> i think they turn them on remotely individually when we speak. >> i think so. so i think we'll go ahead and get started. we don't have a lot of time, but we have a lot of knowledge assembled on this deus. let me just start. i am going to dramatically reduce your bios. it is not to suggest they're not amazingly accomplished people, but we'll get to other
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questions. so selena is a professor of practice at the william j. perry center for the hemisphere studies, and she focuses on national security and elicit networks and transactional organized crime and threat finance. you must be busy. she's taught at numerous institutions including joint operations universities and served as a foreign service officer and as a state department director of counter terrorism finance programs. joseph is the executive director for the secure-free society as a global security expert specializing in asymmetric warfare in investigations on topics like islamic extremism and iran's influence on the western hemisphere. he is also, and i do want to note this, an eight-year veteran of the u.s. marine corps having served in iraq and libberia. >> douglas is the president of ib icon sult ants, a senior visiting fellow at the national
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defense universities center for complex operations. he is an author and national security consultant and an analyst. he has been a foreign correspondent, and an investigative reporter, covering drug trafficking and organized crime in latin america and west africa for two decades, and roger noriega, ambassador noriega is a visiting fellow here at ai and the founder and managing director of vision americas which advises u.s. and foreign clients on international business issues. he also previously served as assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere and u.s. ambassador to the organization of american states. so thank you all, and i am sorry to reduce your bioso dramatically. i think a lot of important things have already been said, frankly. this is -- we're sitting here talking about this report today because i think there is a lot of experience and knowledge on the western hemisphere here and on counter drug and crime issues
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as well as among the assembled members of the panel and those of us who worked on the western hemisphere have been focussed on the march of positive things and we've seen a lot of wonderful things happen in the region. a lot of trade agreements, a lot of positive developments and sort of democratic strength and governance, but at the same time, something pernicious has been happening which is the dramatic rise in transnational organized crime and they carry arms and human beings and drugs and illegal funds and all sorts of things back and forth across the borders in this region and into our own cities. these are serious threats. they're network threats. they're way more complicated than us taking one person off the board. in many cases they have very profound links into governments that should be our partners, but maybe can't be because they are
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themselves criminal, and so this project, i think, a lot of people are familiar with those issues and this project is really about getting practical. about saying here in the public view is this collection of information about different threats in the region, whether it's what's going on in el salvador with certain individuals in venezuela, whether or not it's gangs. what the group has done is assembled a collection of dossier on a series of threats in the region and then going about the business of saying this is what we know and the idea is to present to policymakers a body of knowledge, a set of recommendations on what to do about it and what other tools might be needed to get in and pull apart these networks. so i think we should just get to questions because i think we have a huge depth of knowledge here on the deus. so i think for the first round, what we want to do is give you each a couple of minutes to
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really articulate in a deeper way some of the challenges that are presented in the region, and i think we'll start, roger, on your end. since we've already talked a bit about venezuela, i would kind of like to go back to it and ask you sort of to characterize for us what the core elements are of transnational crime that applies in venezuela and is what's going on in venezuela fundamentally different than what's going on in other parts of the region that are also confronting these challenges. >> thank you very much, kirsten we haven't head your bion. >> no one reads it. >> you've been on the appointee end of the spear as well as looking at it from a policy standpoint and you have an appreciation of the subject and thank you very much for that question. you know, i remember in the '80s when ernesto santiago was elected president of colombia and people threw around the word
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narco state and the moniker narco state. we were doing him a great disservice, as it turns out because we have a real narco state in venezuela today, and it's really more of a narco regime and it's a continuing criminal enterprise where at the very highest levels from the ministers and the minister of the interior of justice for drug trafficking control and al a sammy shown here and the vice president of venezuela and the former president of the national s semiblee and essentially the speaker of the house who the department of justice told the wall street journal is a kingpin. members of the presidential household in this trafficking and you have a situation where
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the security officials, because of the alliance that hugo chavez made with the farc had access to vast tons of cocaine and then went about the task of moving this cocaine through the international territory and ewing the resources of the state and the personnel of the state. you have these ministers of government who were more preoccupied than they were in doing their own jobs as ministers of government and it was no accident. it was something where hugo chavez systematically destroyed the institutions of government and checks and balance and any oversight over his power and even through his foreign policy developed these instruments that would be used to get cocaine, to money -- to launder the money
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from the sale and transit of this cocaine, to move the cocaine. so if you have the government in point of fact directly involved in criminality, that is a really a game changer and we are now grappling with how you deal with that kind of a target. >> great. okay. not great for venezuela, but great description. okay, so, i think if you could -- i think one of the more important parts of this report is the chapter on the criminalized state in the americas because i think it's actually a really critical phenomenon for policymakers to understand and to acknowledge the connective tissue that exists between criminals and the state in many of these countries. can you talk to us a bit about what that really means? i know roger talked about venezuela and el salvador and one of the other examples in the report to give us the sense of
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what you're talking about when you talk about a criminalized state. >> think we often get the question what's different now, right? we've had drug trafficking for so long, and what's different now? one of the fundamental differences is we have governments that use transnational engaged in an entirely separate type of reality of what they define as legal and illegal from what was the consensus in the hemisphere for many years. for example, you have venezuela which when drugs are transiting with the permission of the government and through government officials are involved and the state itself and individuals benefit from the profits of that and that's an entirely different structure than having corrupt individuals here and there where you meet someone to buy dope across the border. i think you see and you have this letter from last week from the bipartisan group of legislators requesting
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information on el salvadoran, and a very senior official who is known to have trafficked extensively weapons with the farc and the businesses that he's associated with have generated huge amounts of money for which there is no visible justification for them. it's the state that's doing that in those cases. i think nicaragua is very similar. whether we have a series of states where the government is viewing transactional organized crime as something that benefits not just them individually, but the state as a project, and i think to understand the bolivarian movement of which venezuela has been the lead are is i think not just venezuela that's an ongoing criminal enterprise. i think it's multiple states together to share this, an ideology and view the engagement of transnational organized crime is completely legitimate. so then when we start saying it's illegal and this and that, and general breedlove when he was the commander in talking
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about russia said we think we're committing a foul like when playing basketball. we want the ref to play baseball and essentially they're playing an entirely different game. we think venezuela is not holding elections and el salvador is not investigating jose luis merino. they're not playing the game we played and they're doing something else completely. the yellow card and red card is meaningless to them and they're operating in a different conceptualization than the state and that's what i was trying to get at in that point. >> i think it's a very critical point to understanding what we have to go after if we're going to tackle these issues in the region. joseph, so i want to focus on a piece of this report that it's interesting to me because i know in my time in government, a number of times the issue of the region and hezbollah has come up and it's generally, oh, well,
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it's not that consequential and not operational. it's overstated. there is an entire section on this issue which i would encourage everyone to read, but more often than not it is suggested that it's overblown and also just tell us, you know, how wrong are they, the folks that take that perspective. >> i think that over time we're seeing that more and more is being revealed and i think the point of al asami himself is someone that no one expected would rise to that level and has ties to hezbollah and iran. it's a dual challenge for u.s. law enforcement and intelligence. on one end, we have to look at how security, national security has been over the last couple of decades and it's been viewed from the optic of counter narcotics and that's the number one threat that most of the u.s.
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government has wrestled with latin america over time and they use the word threat networks, and we have to understand that with a counter narcotic alleged strategy there is an opportunity cost to that? >> what's the opportunity cost to counter narcotics? it's counter narcotics and the iranians are masters at deception. why is it that everywhere in the world we acknowledge that hezbollah and iran work hand in hand. we see it in syria. i just came back from latvia, and mostly members of the eu and they look at me like with shock, they didn't know that this even existed. when we get to latin america, we say, no, we don't. they don't cooperate. the iranians know that and they've been exploiting that for
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a long time, and i know when we look at the latin america part, i think we also have a legal challenge that lacked counter intelligent and it's a point of communication. it's become more prevalent, meaning that a bunch of networks are converging and how is that interpreted with our partners and friends in latin america? they hear the criminal part before they hear the terrorist part. oftentimes when we talk to folks in latin america they don't have a proper designation on terrorism the way we do in the united states. hezbollah does not exist as a terrorist organization in latin america. nobody designates it, in paraguay it might be a counterfeiting organization and they don't acknowledge that hezbollah is what they say they are and what we know them to be which is an international terrorist organization. there are intelligence challenges that we need to address and that's been the vacuum in which most of the u.s.
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government has seen things which is why they missed it. >> we've had to tack will those kinds of issue elsewhere. i remember when they sent me submersibles making their way north out of columbia. we made it illegal here and we discovered that nobody else was in the region that somehow made it illegal and at some point you need the right legal framework to tackle these issues with our partners where they're willing and able. selena, we're going to give you a giant issue to talk about because we know you can handle it. so i think, as you heard from senator rubio and some of the things that have already been said that president trump's administration is going after some of these issues and they've used some sanctions and they've issued an executive order that coalesces their strategic view in the transactional organized
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crime issue and i'd like to get your sense of how you think they're doing and are they maximizing the use of the tools that they have available and maybe this is unfair, but if you can't speak to it, that's fine. the other thing i'd love to understand is how this issue looks from a budget perspective and kind of what they've put out there, because at the end of the day this is about more about people being available to actually look at assets and all of these other practical things that require resources. so that's huge, i realize, but help us out because i know you're wise. >> we take a look -- >> let's start with the good news. the united states has the tool kit in order to fight the scourge of transnational organized crime and to expand on what joseph mentioned, we are now as the u.s. government starting to look at what we call transregional and transnational threat networks. not looking at now the
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commodities going through, many of the commanders from dunford to te, we look at how these different networks are interrelated and more importantly it's about the pathways. we talk about pathways and as we know, we are silos of xilences in washington where i only do counter narcotics and i'm only looking at cocaine and not fentanyl or anything else or i only do hezbollah or hamas and isis. what we're trying to do is think about how it is the failure of imagination. how these groups that we had assume head never collaborated are now collaborating and that is documented through a lot of work and national defense, and how is it reflected in the new administration. we are thrilled to see the new executive rd order on february 9th and also showed political will will. >> it was the first act
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secretary mnuchin and the package had been ready for quite a while. the bigger question is how do we move to take that political will and at one point export it. because as you know, whether its the united states our or our par throughout the hemisphere and it comes to having the speeches and the president going down to meeting with central american leaders and putting pedal to the metal and how to prosecute and go after the fund which is is a big piece. if we look at the chapters and the groups that we look at, we're motivated by one primary thing and it's all about the money which is my favorite topic. the bigger objective, how do you take away the money? >> the question about the budget piece. as you know, we're thinking about rationalizing foreign
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assistance, and i have run these programs in the past in different administrations in different roles and we're tending to train the same people. we are using the same metrics and people like senator rubio and defend it. it's not how many people you train and it's what you're training them for, and i think this is a big piece of what are the lessons learned of what impact that training that specialized in terms of interdictions and more importantly the judicial system which is wanting throughout latin america to bring -- you can have the laws in place ask you can have all these investigators doing the same thing and if we have corrupt prosecutors and judges it's not really, the impunity still rules as you all know and only 3% are prosecuted in states like mexico. unless you have a holistic
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approach which say bigger challenge. >> which makes it impossible. >> in terms of the other pieces of the budget and it's the law enforcement piece. >> i've trained many organizations and there's inherent competition that we have particularly in the new field which we didn't talk about which is cyber. the talent pool is fixed and the offers are so great, so we're cannibalizing on our own people who are the experts. so some of the things we're looking at is how do we also keep people abreast of the situation so the most busy officials are the ones that don't have training or keep up-to-date and we have to start thinking about more innovative
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ways of people who go inside and outside. as you know, i was a banker on wall street and i was brought in after 9/11 and they had to be much more open. people want to serve and it's a bigger question of how to engage the biggest sectors of society into what we call the national security architecture which we won't think about and now it's about ppp, public private partnership and how to make amends when you're having this austere budget environment and creating places to stay or at the fbi where we have amazing talent where we have of the investigators for these types of crimes. >> so let's set our minds to the solutions piece of this, it is what we do about it. >> you know, roger, you talk about a very specific pernicious problem in venezuela, and he did, as well that the idea that the state is not separate from
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the criminal activity. so in cases like this, i assume we have to take these issues on and we want to take venezuela beyond other things and if we want to see a stable, prosperous venezuela, this is part of what we take on and i'll stipulate to that, but how do you tack them when the state itself is the problem. what are the tools that we have, and i know there is a lot about this in the report and what are the tools that you don't have that we ought to be talking to senator rubio for our folks who are tasked with taking this on. >> it requires political will. the administration at the time didn't have a broader strategy on venezuela where they wanted
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to confront the regime, but it's always the right time to do the right thing and it's the right thing to stop criminals from shuffli shoveling it into the united states and to fund the dangerous criminality. in the case of venezuela it's a target-rich environment and gives assets in the united states is cabello. what we are recommending is that the administration should consider using the same sanctions against a guy like that who has amassed millions of dollars which he is a very important political actor in terms of supporting maduro and we don't want to be perceived as intervening in their internal affairs and we intend to diffuse
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the asymmetrical tools that we have available to confront this asymmetrical threat. the peeker of the house in venezuela, can't use dollarses to traffic cocaine or we'll seize the assets. by the way, we may need new authorities for the united states government to go after stolen assets that have been taken. some estimate $150 billion to $200 billion looted by these criminals to take those assets and rather than have them be a property of the u.s. treasury repate them and this is a broader foreign policy initiative and the jose luis merino in el salvador has to be in the broader, diplomatic with a broader diplomatic strategy
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sending the message that the united states will stay engaged and sending messages to the military that you're next in venezuela, as a matter of our policy and also has to be included with international cooperation to eventually clean up the toxic waste of this criminality in venezuela and build up institutions to confront criminality wherever it occurs. >> i feel like the rest of you might have something to add here. >> i would say what selena said is fundamental. >> the thing that makes these people is their ability to amass and move vast amounts of mono sd money and there's not a clear understanding of the amounts of money that these folks are moving into the billions of dollars as roger said.
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there is not a clear understanding of the complexity of these networks and how the networks in central america overlap with the networks with the farc which overlap with illicit gold which overlap with cocaine and overlap with all kinds of other illegal -- and you're talking about a very complex and very large and separate universe in which legality, what we term legality operates. so i think the desire and the willingness to take away visas from people is incredibly important because it sends messages and focussing and resourcing of the especially treasury and folks that have the authorities that can do the investigation. they're constantly overwhelmed. it sounds really great. we only have 15 other priorities to get to before we get there and that may be 2020, you know? they simply don't have the ability and capability to the do what needs to be done if you
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view this as the threat of the magnitude. you do. if you take money away and the main thing starts to those are issues. >> you know, i agree with doug and selena and roger. sanctions isn't a strategy. i think we need to think broader. selena was touching on this a little bit. you beat networks with networks. we're not going to win this asymmetric fight. you've read my bio that i wrote about ten years now. asymmetric warfare, what that means is a war that's not fought to conventional means. how do you fight a war not through conventional means, you get legitimacy and
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delegitimatize your adversary. we have to fully understand what we're dealing with. the senator has mentioned him. who is he? do we know who he is? most people i imagine don't know this. he's the great uncle, a gentleman named shibley alasami. the same network that put bashar al assad in power. these are well-established, and i think we have a golden opportunity. this didn't exist five or six years ago. the criminal states took a lot away from us in building alternative networks and they play by a different set of
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rules. now we have a new government in argentina and bra sdplzil and guatemala. if we can't capitalize on that opportunity, we may never get it again. i think it's time. >> it is notable to me that we have a degree of momentum on the narcotics issue where everybody understands the issue, understood that we may need to cooperate, went after it with a lot of different tools but my sense is we don't have that sense of coalesced perspective on organized crime. everybody is feeling the consequences. i know you just got back from gaut maul lachlt you've been involved in the efforts to kind of begin to bring the -- rally the region to the issues. what are you picking up as you're out in the region about the level of concern, the level of focus on these issues and on
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tackling them? >> historically, for those of us who have been following this for several decades, we've talked about producer countries, and now with the dawn of synthetics, everyone is a producer. it's interesting now that we see a lot of the traffickers paying for the transit with drugs. we have a health crisis and it's not just in the united states -- in latin america. we see in africa, they are being paid for cocaine and doctors had never seen what that looked ike. what we've seen, going back to the new initiative. on june 15th and 16th, it wasn't that well covered except by "the miami herald." there was a conference of prosperity and security of central america. you had the presidents of the northern triangle countries, ministers from all of central
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america focusing on three things. first, why there's the citizen security piece, which is driving people away, which is affecting the migration patterns and then the levels of violence, which are still quite high. they are reducing but any migration is when you're fleeing away from violence or lack of opportunity towards the opportunity. and the other pieces that we were looking at is re-engaging and, more importantly, reinforcing the idea of anti-corruption and around the world particularly in latin america which has toppled many governments, including guatemala. joseph mentioned the thing we look at networks. i work a lot with the military. we talk about red networks. any red on a graph is negative. we think of the adversary as
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negative. and then blue networks are u.s. government and interagency and green networks are pafrt nrtner agencies. these are countries facing the scourge of contraband and trying to get them to own it. it was interesting to see at that conference when they looked at socioeconomic pieces first on the first day and security on the second day, which in the past it's always been the flip. and the idea was to make the private sector and look at how to encourage investment. it's a very wholistic piece, which is diplomacy piece, political will, economic, investment. and then law enforcement intelligence, how do we better connect to go after these red networks. >> so i did want -- so we're going to run out of time. i did want to get to the issue
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of colombia and it was mentioned earlier the farc dissonance and this question of the farc, its history, its connections to criminal states in the region, its connections to organized crime organizations. and the question of how in the peace process in colombia and in farc transforming itself into a political entity, how do you sort of forestall that element of the farc from being imported into the political process? i know the idea is that it's a dissident entity and we shouldn't be concerned about it. but should we be concerned that those relationships and those activities will remain integral to the farc and to the farc presence as they move through the implementation of the peace
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process and what's to be done about it? >> do you, doug, have a thought about -- i know it's an area of specialty for you. >> i think the farc dissidents falls into certain categories. folks have been in combat for many years and don't want to go to that kind of life and if you look at the central american model that i think they are following quite closely, there are groups that don't demobilize going forward and in case things like the united patriotic movement starts again. i think there are multiple aspects. i think there either are specific groups from the 48 front, the group that was just up on the board, the senior farc
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officials, that probably retain a much closer organic link to the farc secoretariat and the illegal mining, the gold mining structures as well. and i think those, for the farc to really let those go, would be incredibly difficult and hard for me to do. i think they've taken a step back. i think the numbers are small in relative terms. you see things like the farc in the 48th moving weapons from one area and burying them in other place outside the camp. new weapons, new factory-made land mines, lots of stuff that gave no indication as before and every indication that we're seeing in central america that a lot of the old weapons are flowing into central america and i think they kept a reserve of the good weapons themselves. i think it's very complicated.
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how to keep them out of the process would be a matter of will for the colombia government. i don't think from outside one can say you'd have to do this or that. i think they are putting an enormous amount of resources in the peace process into developing a political infrastructure particularly in the areas where they broaden out from there in an effort to get into the political game at a very high level because during the peace talks, look how long it took us to take power. 27 years. we couldn't do it because we had no money was fln's argument. farc took that to heart and harvesting the effort to put into the peace process thinks it will take the political power at the municipal state in a much quicker time than the fln w.
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>> so you really think they had a strategic plan? >> i do. >> interesting. >> i must say, doug took me to school on this a few years ago because, you know, as i speak to different members of congress or staff about the subject, i always admonish and never assume that our enemies are as disorganized as we are. because the farc leadership have been cooking up this transmodification from the surgency to the political organization for decades and there was a conscious effort to go into the cocaine business and one of the persons who helped convince them of this strategy and convinced them to get involved in cocaine and move away from that supportive role, be directly involved in the
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trafficking to maximize their profits was the head of -- runs el salvador today which is a co-con sp co-conspirator in organizations. so if you want to test my proposition about whether they have 1 billion, you may want to ask joe say luis merino. you'll find a network of where a lot of this farc money is and merino, incidentally, was in havana advising the farc during the negotiations of the so-called peace plan.
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so never assume that our enemies are as organized as we are. >> do you want to add something? >> yeah. colombia is a great concern. that was a success story for the region, for u.s. engagement, for u.s. partnership, colombia did a tremendous thing in a very short amount of time, in ten years. i think the farc had a plan. they knew what they were doing. and there was a famous saying where he said that war is but politics but other means. meaning, there is always a hybrid between politics and war. but what did lennon say? lennon said the inverse. knowing that the farc is not -- purpose of this paper and this conference in general, the word of transnational organized crime, the key word there is
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organized. organized is what separates them from everything else and there's not been anybody more organized than the farc. if you dissect their network, ngos as far as europe and all the way through latin america and they have tremendous capabilities that we didn't see until it was too late. >> can i just add a two-second thing? >> yes. >> i think it's also easy to overestimate the ability of these groups to carry out their plans in ways that we give them qualities when they also are very vulnerable and it's easy to overestimate what the farc dissidents represent and i don't think they are a monolithic force on the move either. i think they make a lot of mistakes and they are not unified and fight because they are human beings and they don't always agree and things fall apart sometimes. >> one thing. >> yes. >> the cocaine trafficking is higher than it's been in
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decades. it's not just about the farc. someone's replacing the farc. so there's actually some of us who are quite provocative looking at the cartilization of the drug trade and human trafficking of these different criminals that are starting to gain much more traction. someone's still running the business. so members of the farc will exceed and, more importantly, we have to hold accountable, right? and there are others who will join existing and others who create -- and i think doug and i have taken a look at this. the illicit economy is still there. >> >> highly adaptive and they have markets and diversity and anything that illicit business would have, right?
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>> this past year is the first year we've had an increase in domestic consumption of cocaine in eight years in the united states, which is disturbing. >> yeah. notable. >> okay. we have about ten minutes. let's take some questions from the audience. since we've mentioned mexico and it's discussed in the reports, one of our attendees are asking whether or not the u.s. should continue to pour money into the strategy. i think it's a fair question. i also think if anyone -- i don't know if it's you, roger, or anyone else wants to add to the mexico question and specifically to the question from the audience. >> sure. i should note that there are four of us here but 16 people drafted the paper. >> yes. >> and a good number in the audience.
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and mexico is one that doesn't -- when we suggest these rifle shot sanctions -- it's not a substitute for a strategy. in the case of mexico, there really are no rival shots either. it has to be a wholistic approach of what we're doing there. i think there's a great understanding and appreciation for the fact that since fox took office and calderon, we've had a lot of cooperation. president george w. bush put considerable resources to this initiative and it approached $2.5 million. but -- and the strategy of the mexicans, particularly in the calderon, was going after the kingpins. it's essentially the same although didn't really have a strategy initially.
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pena nieto did that. as long as mexico doesn't get its arms around the corruption issue and immunity problem and have a more effective judicial system to deal with this in a systematic way, you're not going to get traction against this problem. and you're not going to have the kind of political will, sustained political will that would deliver significant results. so you have tens and thousands of people who have died in mexico because of this confrontational strategy and we never really got our arms around who are willing to talk about the endemic corruption that undermines the cooperation among agencies or levels of government and we need to do an appraisal of that. that's going to be something that clearly mexico has to do
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within the four corners of its country there. are some things that the united states can do. first off, i do think we need to sustain this effort because it's the consumption of drugs in the united states that's fueling this problem. so we can't just sort of walk away and say that's a problem that they have. the opioid crisis that we want to deal with here is a direct result of the failure to control prescription drugs, which creates this debilitating addictions among tens and thousands and hundreds of people if it doesn't kill them they eventually go on to drugs -- illegal drugs produced, fent nal and others and then on the guns parts, which these guns parts, people getting around u.s. regulations and u.s. law, i know
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we're big believers of the second amendment but this loophole is a way that the narcos can literally outgun law enforcement and i think we need to look at ways to address that problem, close that loophole. >> does anybody else have anything that they want to add to the mexico front? >> tomorrow we go to mexico to talk about the cost of crime. >> you're always on the go. >> for those who haven't seen it, i recommend the interdevelopment american bank did a study in february. the cost of crime, transnational organized crime is 1.5% globally of gdp. think about the opportunity costs and, more importantly, in mexico, it's structural. it's it literally the levels of
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impunity. and they are taking steps in terms of changing the way crimes are tried and this idea of a generation that it's going to take. but they are also starting to deal with consumption, which is something that they have never seen before and trying to deal with fentanyl and the precursors. we have a strong operation on intelligence and border control and counterterrorism issues. we didn't talk about during the panel today the fear of what we call special interest aliens, coming and using the same pathways to come through and, more importantly, to cross into our country. >> it's interesting. so if you were to go look at the attacks in belgium, for example, you would say that what the terrorist networks did was tap into the criminal networks to get their documents and weapons. so -- and of course in colombia
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we saw criminal activity so one shouldn't assume that it can't happen again in some way and other pathways of criminality. not that we need to be paranoid about it but that we need to understand the possibilities. >> thanks to u.s. training and technical assistance, they actually caught a somali who had multiple identities who was on the no fly list. he was crossing from panama to coa costa rica and they used biomechanics. and it came through and entered through on a plane from brazil, came in the region. so it's interesting to see. you're going to a service provider, not necessarily an oficianado of your ideology. >> true. >> that's a way to look at
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hezbollah. and i acknowledge my co-author in the report who is an iran hezbollah expert. as he described it in the report, hezbollah is a service provider. if you look at organized crime as a highway, hezbollah holds some of the tolls on that highway, especially some of those through europe and africa and the middle east. hezbollah has gotten really good at using different type of trade systems, commodity based systems. and so in that sense, hezbollah, when you talk about it, they do illicit mining to money lan d laundering but they are fundamentally a terrorist organization. a couple hezbollah operatives got arrested in panama not too long ago.
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if you look at the history of one of the operatives, he self-admittedly said that he had family connections to the bombers from the attack in bulgaria from a few years ago. so that's fundamentally transnational and he was the one specifically casing the panama canal. >> so let me get through just a couple more questions from the audience because we don't want to sort of not do that. so we have a few on venezuela. one question, which i think is pretty easy to answer, which is venezuela is a center of criminal activity. do you agree that this and issues like human rights makes it a good subject for action in the u.s.? i would be surprised if anyone disagreed with that. >> i think it's an important part of the discussion, that there is a strong bipartisan consensus on this. the letter on jose luis merino and saying that he should be
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investigated and sanctioned was initiated by a staff and co-signed by jeff duncan and seven democrats, seven republicans. the venezuela legislation that talks about -- or the criminality of the regime on the senate side was initiated by ben cardin and co-sponsored by marco rubio. this is an area where people on capitol hill have gotten smart about this issue, have gotten engaged in this issue and went across party lines without second thought because precisely they know it's a crisis and they know it's something that we're confronting. this is a great opportunity for the trump administration. >> i think so. >> to jump on this or to take "yes" for an answer.
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>> any dissenting views? i would doubt it. so let's just get through -- this is an interesting question. i don't know if anyone would be prepared to speak to it. but what role do international banks play in illicit finance and does regulation need to be addressed? i'm not a banking expert. does anybody have views on this? >> clearly the u.s. banking system is one of the biggest laundering centers in the world and we don't do much of -- they're not too bothered about doing good diligence of customers and things like that. i think that's an enormous part and that coupled with the off-shore havens when you have an enormous amount of hundreds of billions of dollars parked
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off shore in ways invisible to the outside world and they all have a banking relationship with the united states. the way they can move their money into their system is because they have correspondentikrocore responding relationships with the u.s. and you couple that with the other huge problem that we're seeing now out of latin america, this money is moving to russia and china in ways that we no longer have -- >> so it's out of our reach? >> it's out of our reach now. it's essentially gone and so you have this creation of this very large universe of money that is not bound or resources are not bound by any of the rules that he would like to think that we are bound by. and i think that's becoming an enormous problem. >> it's another alternative universe. >> yeah. >> very challenging. we probably couldn't hire enough people at treasury to get to
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that. that's a huge challenge. >> you can push banks and there has been some success at getting banks to acknowledge some responsibility but we have wells fargo and other who is have paid enormous fines and they still made a profit on the illicit transaction. i think it's difficult to -- it requires a lot of political will. >> any unfired rounds from any of you that you would -- anything else you would like to add? >> just on the banking piece, as a recovering investment banker myself, there is a very fundamental piece of the united states. actually, you as a bank accept responsibility for laundering, in the case of hsbc, the fine in mexico is 29 million. it was 2 billion almost here in the united states. not one banker -- because it's not like the bank did it, right? someone actually did it. no one did the perp walk. everyone remembers the walk of
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bernie madoff? you take it as an institutional rather than bringing people to trial and that's -- there's a way -- it's all about how you apply the law and, more importantly, how you require accountability. other countries took it as a write-off as opposed to those complicit with the actual laundering. >> i'm not a recovering banker but when you look at alternative systems and new players in banking in latin america, i think you need to look at china. in the last decade, they've celebrated in their number one trade country, brazil, they are second in many other countries and china developed a development bank that has rivaled with the world bank and there are alternative ways to
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make payments. also with members of the department of treasury looking at things like crypto currency and new technologies that they look at the illicit actors using and that we haven't really gotten into that game yet. so i think that's -- china's a big player. >> more unknown work. yes, roger? >> let me just add to the rogue's gallery here, i think a lot of folks think they understand vladimir putin and who he is and he wants to be the czar and ensure the greatness of the russian empire and an expert explained to me that he is a gangster. he's a criminal. and he's a criminal boss.
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and he has no problem working with any others with a similar profile to advance his interests. and so he's one of the principle supporters of madron now and probably is going to take a good look and mexico and playing in mexi mexico and sew unrest which causes problems for the united states and tap into the criminal networks that the criminals operate in that country right here in our neighborhood. >> so there's no end to the intended criminality. i think that's a depressing note to end on. let me try to make it less depressing. i think it is the hope of the
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people who are involved in this, many of whom are also in the audience. i see christy and jose and a whole series of -- actually, everybody on this list, if everybody got the report, owes a -- we owe them a debt of gratitude for being involved and i think it is the hope of the people that are involved in this process that policy makers will take a serious look at what's been assembled here from public sources, from the knowledge of the people who are involved and at the tools being recommended and think seriously how they put them in motion and act on them, whether it's treasury or some other element of the u.s. government. we see this, i think, as an imperative. not just for the western hemisphere countries that live -- you know, that we share this region with but that we for ourselves and what the criminals carry into our cities and across our border and what they deliver unto the -- for those of you who
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have churn, unto your children in terms of threats and drugs and other things. i think it's an imperative and this group of people sat down and really gave some thought to how we begin to get at it and deconstruct these networks and, for that, we thank them. that's it, guys. [ applause ]
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here's how "the new york times" reports the cbo. "the senate health bill got its official score 22 million would lose insurance by 2026." it would increase the number of people without health insurance, a figure that is only slightly lowered than the 3 million uninsured that the house version would create, from the congressional budget office as reported by "the new york times." democrats in the chamber planned an hour-long protests. the hill newspaper writes the mini talk-a-thon comes as democrats are digging in ahead of the highly watched vote this week.
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progressive activists are expected to hold events every day to protest the bill leading up to a final bill which could come on thursday night or early friday. you can follow senate coverage always on c-span2, online at or on the c-span radio app. let's take you live now to the rose garden at the white house. it's a beautiful afternoon in washington. expecting remarks from president trump and politic modi of india. it should be getting under way momentarily.
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and as we wait for remarks from president trump and prime minister modi from india, let's show you what happened a bit earlier today when the two men met in the oval office. >> thank you very much. it's a great honor to have prime minister modi of india, who has been such a great prime minister. i've been speaking with him and reading about you and you have done a great job economically india is doing well and in so many other ways so i'd like to congratulate you. thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you.


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