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A reported blog on happenings around Latin America.

The world's worst drug-trafficking offenders

The US has expanded its drug-trafficking watch list. See which countries are falling short in the war on drugs.
Drug trafficking 2011 09 15Enlarge
Colombian police show marijuana seized from criminal gangs in Colombia on Feb, 18, 2011. (Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House added El Salvador and Belize to its list of major drug producing and transit countries and singled out Bolivia, Burma and Venezuela for their failure to fight illegal drugs.

The list, released today, includes 22 total nations, all but five of which are in Latin America (see the full list below).

The addition of El Salvador and Belize means that all seven Central American countries are on the list for the first time, reflecting how much the illegal drug trade has enveloped the region.

Read more: Mexican cartels carve bloody swath through Central America

The White House said El Salvador's geographic location makes it vulnerable to drug trafficking — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras form the so-called "northern triangle" where "national gangs are forming alliances with international criminal syndicates." 

It also said that drug control observers are concerned about the rise of trafficking in Belize, a Caribbean nation of 330,000 people. They reported that Los Zetas, one of Mexico's most feared drug cartels, is now present in the border areas and ports.

Read more: The invasion of Mexico's drug cartels

Afghanistan remains the world's largest grower of opium poppy and a major source of heroin.

The statement also noted that drug trafficking ties have strengthened between South America and West Africa, which offers a gateway to European markets.

Here's the full list:

  • Afghanistan
  • The Bahamas
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Burma
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Laos
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

Follow Stephanie on Twitter: @stephaniegarlow

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/que-pasa/major-drug-producing-countries-obama