U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the continuation of financial measures against Colombian drug traffickers, claiming they pose an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
In a letter to Congress, Obama explains that the 1995 Executive Order to freeze bank accounts and seize assets of alleged Colombian drug lords must continue.
According to Obama the list, also known as “Clinton’s List,” of persons and companies who are not allowed to do business with U.S. companies must stay in place. The list is managed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
“The circumstances that led to the declaration on October 21, 1995, of a national emergency have not been resolved. The actions of significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States and cause an extreme level of violence, corruption, and harm in the United States and abroad,” the letter released by the White House press secretary said.
“For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to maintain economic pressure on significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia by blocking their property and interests in property that are in the United States or within the possession or control of United States persons and by depriving them of access to the U.S. market and financial system,” the letter added.
The U.S. is the biggest consumer of Colombian cocaine and has militarily and financially supported Colombia’s fight against leftist rebels, paramilitaries and drug cartels, all involved in the production and trafficking of drugs.