The Caribbean, considered a natural bridge between North and South America, serves as a transshipment region for drugs destined for U.S., African, and European markets. Its strategic location and hundreds of islands and cays, combined with a large volume of both commercial and non-commercial air/maritime movement, makes the Caribbean an attractive region for transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) seeking to conceal their illicit activities.

To counter this threat, the United States seeks to dismantle transnational criminal organizations operating throughout the region and stem the flow of illegal drugs, while expanding the level of cooperation with partner nations through security cooperation initiatives and joint/combined operations. The goal is to strengthen law enforcement and judicial institutions, combat money laundering and corruption, reduce consumption of drugs, and generally reduce violence.

Caribbean Basin Security Initiative

Central American and Caribbean nations are at great risk for drug trafficking, production, and abuse. The United States, through Merida Initiative funding, provided additional law enforcement training, equipment, and other assistance to Central American nations, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. The was followed by the the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) that will further strengthen the key institutions of our Caribbean partners to face the challenges of transnational crime and reduced economic opportunities. The United States is also working with partner nations to promote community-based policing and demand-reduction and anti-gang efforts. These efforts, combined with joint operations continually conducted by DEA, will provide an opportunity to reduce drug trafficking in these vital regions of the Western Hemisphere.

CBSI is a regional initiative that is a pillar of the U.S. security strategy focused on citizen safety throughout the hemisphere. It is focused on three core objectives to deal with the threats facing the Caribbean:

  • Reduce Illicit Trafficking: through programs ranging from counternarcotics to reducing the flow of illegal arms/light weapons
  • Advance Public Safety and Security: through programs ranging from reducing crime and violence to improving border security
  • Promote Social Justice: through programs designed to promote justice sector reform, combat government corruption assist vulnerable populations at risk of recruitment into criminal organizations

Related Resources

For detailed reports on the drug trafficking situation in Caribbean countries please refer to the Caribbean section of the State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report