Drug Trafficking of Latin America THE ULTIMATE NATURAL RESOURCE
COLOMBIA • The initial “boom” of exportation began in the 1960’s with Marijuana, which led to the 1970’s Cocaine explosion into the U.S. • U.S. addiction and supply demands pushed the market. • Massive profits- $1,500 to produce one kilogram in the Colombian jungle to be sold for $50,000/Kilo on the streets in the U.S. • Money leads to “POWER”- The Medellin Cartel, lead by Pablo Escobar created such a massive industry he could have paid off the entire debt of the Colombian Government.
COLOMBIA • The conflict between the Medellin cartel and the Colombian Government over “Power, Control, and Money lead to violence and the death of hundreds during the many attempts to take down the cartel. • Pablo Escobar and his many of his members were eventually killed and/or captured. • The Colombian Government- Backed by US and other nations through Military, Financial, Logistical, and Tactical aid to curb the drug trade. • Over time the Colombian National Police have worked to curb the drug trade by only 60%. From 2000-2010 they have captured or killed drug lords at 100 per year. • The Colombian National Police now provide training to seven other Latin American countries to assist them in reducing the cocaine trade/production.
MEXICO • Violence- 40,000 dead since the “declaration of war on drugs” by the government with Ciudad Juarez the most murderous city in the world. • President Felipe Calderone- December 11, 2006 sends 6,500 federal troops to fight drug cartels. • Corruption runs rampant. Police are used as body guards for the cartels. • Feuding drug cartels battle each other for turf to ship drugs into the US. Some cities in these shipping lanes have been completely taken over by drug cartels forcing the national police to retreat. • Mexican women civilians make up the majority of the opposition to the drug cartels. Citizens and mostly students protest the Calderone governments anti-drug response. • USA as a cause: The demand for drugs in the US fuels the drug trade. $20 billion estimated sent back to Mexico from the US as a result of illicit drug sales. • Over 100 US citizens killed during drug battles in 2010. Mexican drug cartels are found to be present in over 200 American cities. • The US response- $1.4 Billion in military aid provided to the Mexican Government and increased border patrols. • The mindset of many US citizens is to legalize drugs to remove the supply/demand factor and destroy the cartels through legalization.
VENEZUELA • Prior to 2005 and the Chavez administration the US considered Venezuela as a “cooperating entity” in the drug war. • President Chavez expelled the DEA in 2005 and accused the agency of spying. • Venezuela is a major drug-transit country with high levels of corruption and a weak judicial system. • U.S. State Department: “Drug shipments through Venezuela are permitted by a lack of international counter-narcotics cooperation. • Venezuela demonstrates their counter-narcotics ability by deporting drug kingpins to the USA in 2010 and accused the US of being “Abusive and Interventionist”. • Venezuela and US relations are further strained by Colombia’s close military and economic relationship with the US in counter-narcotics operations.
BOLIVIA • Worlds third-largest cultivator of coca after Colombia and Peru. • Produces 120 metric tons of cocaine annually. • Coca leaf used for medicinal, cultural, and religious purposes. • The Coca Cola company still purchases coca from Bolivia for drink flavoring. • 1988- Bolivian Government passes and extensive and controversial law controlling the eradication of coca plantations. • The new law provided for the elicit growth of a certain quantity of coca and authorized eradication of illegal plantations by the Army.
BOLIVIA • 2010 Bolivia legally allows 12,000 hectares of coca bushes to be planted. • Organization of American States (OAS) estimates that 30,500 coca bushes are under cultivation. • Coca cultivation more than doubled between 2008 and 2009 with Bolivian drug traffickers boosting production. • President Caceres accepts $250,000 from the US for satellite monitoring to assist with coca eradication, but does not allow for any US personnel to be involved.
PERU • Second largest producer of cocaine in the world and the origin of the coca leaf beginning in the 1880s. • Making cocaine illegal raises cocaine use from 1945-1950. • Peruvian gangs begin the cocaine smuggling trade to the U.S. and Europe. • An unstable Peru Government during the cold war makes it difficult to contain cocaine drug smuggling. • US/Peru relations focus on battling the drug trade beginning in the 1980s. • US funds military operations throughout the Peruvian region to combat the drug activity. • The Fujimori doctrine in Peru focuses on economic issues and ignores the criminal element. • Cocaine production in Peru negatively impacts Peru’s ecological environment.
ECUADOR • US/Ecuador relations straining as the US operated Manta Air Base agreement fails to renew operating agreement. Manta based used to fight the illicit drug trade. • US spent over 150 Million in controlling the border between Ecuador and Colombia. • Manta Air Base operations have captured more than 200 metric tons of narcotics. • Ecuadorian military is expanding at a rate of 25% per year due to the border wars with Colombia and Peru. • Colombian rebel forces have been fighting Ecuador at the border for over 40 years. • Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are fighting Ecuadorian troops and oppose US border intervention. The rebels are made up of the lower class who oppose the wealthy class that exists inside Colombia due to the drug trade profits. • FARC are reported to profit from the Colombian/Ecuadorian drug trade with nearly 2 Billion in profits daily. • Ramon Quintero Sanclement, local drug lord and native of Colombia was arrested north of Quito, the Ecuador capital. He operated the “Norte del Valle” drug cartel.
BRAZIL • Marijuana was the traditional drug of choice among the poor up until the 1950s when cocaine was introduced into the slums. Heavy fighting raged throughout the cities, especially in Rio De Janeiro. • Brazil created an anti-drug force in 1999 • Brazilian borders are so vast it is difficult for Federal troops to patrol. • The Amazon has been used more frequently for smuggling causing Brazilian troops to patrol the river venues. • Utilizing the rivers and roadways through the Amazon, a link between the Atlantic and Pacific is most advantageous for the drug trade. • Children are used to traffic narcotics. At age 13 32.5% of all drugs smuggled are by children through age 17. • Governmental officials of a lower pay grade are more susceptible to corruption among drug traffickers. • 80% of drugs produced in Bolivia are shipped to Brazil. Brazil is the gateway country to the core nations of the US and Europe.
PANAMA • Panama’s history has been shaped by the evolution of the world economy and the ambitions of great powers. • Drug traffickers use a variety of methods to avoid the Government. Fishing vessels, cargo ships, small aircraft, go fast boats. • Unmonitored legal airstrips for deliveries, pickups, and refueling. Commercial flights are used by traffickers to transport cocaine and heroin to the US and Europe. • The US invaded Panama in 1989 motivated by the “War on Drugs” with the intent to arrest the President, Manuel Noriega. • After the invasion, the Torrijos administration is publicly committed to counter-narcotics and anti-crime cooperation with the US as a members state of the Central American Integration System. (SICA) • 2006- Panama created the Panama National Air Service and National Maritime Service into a “Coast Guard”. • The Government of Panama tool limited steps to create a stand-alone border control service. • Manuel Noriega surrenders to US Troops on January 2, 1990. • 2011- Panama spent $700 Million to combat drug trafficking.
CUBA • Cuba has been actively involved in the drug trade since 1961. The level of corruption and illicit drug sales/profits runs through the ranks of the Cuban government to the President and his staff. • Cuba is the primary launching pad for the Colombian cocaine drug lords to gain entry into the United States. • Panama, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Jamaica, Haiti, Ecuador, and Mexican drug lords use Cuban air and water-ways to gain access to the US drug market. • Cuban Mafia drug dealers entered Miami in the 1960s during the cold war . • Cuban enforcement efforts are unreliable due to the close nature of the communist government. • US State Department intelligence reports Cuban drug trafficking groups are collaborating with Mexican drug lords. • The Government of Cuba through the Castro administration has been linked to drug lords of Colombia, Panama, and Grenada. There involvement is still questionable today.