Hemisphere Focus: Belize Is Emblematic of Counterdrug Dilemma in Central America
November 1, 2011
Poor Belize. It reportedly has no air surveillance radar, only one working light airplane in its air wing, 19 patrol boats, and a handful of 4 x 4 vehicles to transport its 2,000-member defense and police forces over an area the size of Vermont. Overall, its population of 320,000 is able to support a defense force budget of about $35 million, which is about the price of two new small helicopters. It is badly out-resourced by the global narcotics trade that grosses some $300 billion per year and transits its territory with regularity. Sadly, this tourist haven, where Americans go to sun and snorkel, gets little outside help—not even from its former colonial master, the United Kingdom.