(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America March 5,
reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)

President George Bush and the leaders of six Latin American nations met
last week in San Antonio, Texas, to reaffirm their commitment to the war on
illegal drugs.  The presidents of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru,
along with the foreign minister of Venezuela, and the United States, agreed
that much progress has been made since a summit in Cartagena, Colombia, two
years ago.  This year's summit ended with a joint declaration outlining new
strategies for international narcotics control.

President Bush highlighted some of the important points of the joint
declaration.  First, he said, "drug control and strengthening the
administration of justice includes programs to interdict trafficker control essential chemicals and money laundering, and to
increase judicial cooperation.  Number two, economic and financial areas
focus on investment, trade, debt, alternative development, and for the
first time, the environmental destruction that is caused by drug
trafficking.  And three, prevention and demand reduction."

Commenting on the success of multinational efforts since the first drug
summit, President Bush pointed out that:  "Top traffickers are dead or
jailed; record levels of cocaine and other drugs have been seized;
cultivation has leveled off; interdiction is up worldwide; we have cracked
down on drug users; consumption is declining as our people increasingly
reject drugs, especially our youth; our judicial institutions are stronger,
better able to meet the challenge; our efforts against money laundering,
chemical diversion and illegal arms exports are improving."

President Bush said the United States will continue to attack the demand
side of the international drug problem.  But he also called for more
cooperation and greater effort by countries most concerned with the supply
side of the problem.  Eradication of drug producing crops, stepped-up
1nterdiction efforts, more cooperation in detecting and seizing drug
traffic revenues and better intelligence are needed to stop the deadly flow
of illicit drugs.  "If we do not work together," President Bush said, "the
traffickers will destroy us separately."

President Bush also stressed that the fight against drugs must always
conform to democratic principles.  "None of us wants a drug-free
dictatorship," he said.  We must protect the human and civil rights of our
citizens.  We are all committed to defending democracy and its principles
as we defeat the scourge of drugs."