Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation

By Joseph S. Tulchin; Ralph H. Espach | Go to book overview

15
Maritime Counternarcotics
Agreements:
The Cop on the Beat
Captian Randy Beardsworth
The U. S. Coast Guard is a unique agency within the U. S. government. We have our roots in the Revenue Cutter Service of the earliest years of our republic, established under the secretary of the Treasury to apprehend smugglers and collect tariffs for our struggling young nation. We now operate under the Department of Transportation and are part of the armed forces. We are both a regulatory agency and a law enforcement agency, and we still apprehend smugglers, just as we have done for well over 200 years.The U. S. Coast Guard has various missions that correspond well with security concerns commonly at play in the Caribbean region.
Search and rescue
Maritime law enforcement
Alien migrant interdiction
Marine environmental protection
Merchant vessel safety
Aids to navigation
Military readiness
Fisheries

About three-quarters of all illegal maritime migration into the United States comes through Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands. In the Caribbean, we expect about 150–300 migrants a month to depart Haiti, about 75–100 migrants a month to depart Cuba, and about 1,500–2,000 migrants a month to depart the Dominican Republic. We are convinced of a strong correlation between migrant smuggling, drug smuggling, and other criminal activities, especially across the Mona Pass and other avenues into Puerto Rico. According to the August 1996 Interagency Assessment of Cocaine Movement, for example,

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