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Latin American Diplomats Push Economic Development To End War On Drugs

Sponsored by Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Defense and Security Student Organization and the Latin American Student Association (LASA), the panel discussion explored the challenges Latin American leaders face and the strategies they have come up with to counter drug trafficking.

The panelists echoed Ambassador Cely's assertion that US collaboration with its neighbors in the region is essential to ensure success. Furthermore, the countries represented praised the new counter-narcotics strategy announced by President Obama, calling for continued efforts to tackle the drug problem comprehensively and look beyond military solutions.

"Without much debate, what you see is that all of our countries are in alignment. Let's try a holistic approach [to improving security]," said Ariel Moutsatsos, Head of the Special Affairs Office for the Embassy of Mexico.

" Honduras has spent more than 10 percent of our national budget on justice, security, and defense," said Ambassador Hernandez-Alcerro.

"The international community must be committed to long-term stability," added Villanueva. "In Guatemala, we are investing heavily to get our people out of poverty, and have reduced poverty by 9 percent from its peak."

The panel discussion is part of a series of events Ambassador Cely will be participating in this summer as part of the "Keep Trade Going" campaign to educate and create awareness about the importance of U.S.- Ecuador relations and the ATPDEA. To find out more about "Keep Trade Going," follow @keeptradegoing on Twitter or

These materials are distributed by BLJ Worldwide on behalf of the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, D.C. Additional information is available on file with the Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

Contact: Katie Hill,, 212-486-7070

SOURCE Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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