Source and Transit Countries

RSS Feed for this category

Why the US is Losing Its War on Cocaine

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Independent (UK)
URL: 
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2586645.ece

Why the US is losing its war on cocaine

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Independent (UK)
URL: 
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2586645.ece

Latin America: UN Drug Office Blames Central American Crime and Violence on Drugs, Not Prohibition

Central America's stability and development is being thwarted by crime and violence, much of it caused by the drug trade, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report released Wednesday. However, the report called for an intensification of the prohibitionist policies that helped create the problems in the first place.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/un-report-cover.jpg
global and tunnel vision at the same time
When a multi-billion dollar drug trafficking industry and the violence it generates is added to a witch's brew of social problems, including poverty, income disparity, gang violence, high homicide rates, easy access to firearms, weak political and social institutions, and widespread corruption, the weak Central American nations are under siege, the report warned.

"The warning signs are evident in this report -- gun-related crime, gang violence, kidnapping, the proliferation of private security companies," said UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa in a press release accompanying the report. "But these problems are in no way inherent to the region. They can be overcome."

Sandwiched between the coca and cocaine producing regions of South America and the insatiable market for cocaine in North America, Central America sees nearly 90% of cocaine headed north. While little of it falls off the truck -- Central American usage rates are low, according to UNODC -- violence and corruption associated with the black market drug trade take their toll.

"Where crime and corruption reign and drug money perverts the economy, the State no longer has a monopoly on the use of force and citizens no longer trust their leaders and public institutions," Mr. Costa said, underscoring that development is stunted where crime and corruption thrive. "As a result, the social contract is in tatters and people take the law into their own hands."

Countries in the region and beyond need to work together to strengthen their criminal justice systems, and break the links between drugs, crime, and underdevelopment, the UNODC advised. "Cooperation is vital," Costa said. "The problems are too big, too inter-linked and too dangerous to be left to individual states."

But rather than revising the global drug prohibition regime that generates the huge black market flows of cash, drugs, and guns at the root of many of Central America's problems, Costa and the UNODC simply call for more of the same. "We have a shared responsibility and common interest in helping the countries of Central America to withstand external pressures and to strengthen their internal resistance to the damaging effects of drugs and crime," Costa said. "Let us unlock the potential of this region."

If Costa and the UNODC suffer from tunnel vision when it comes to drug prohibition, at least they displayed a nuanced understanding of the youth gangs or "maras" that are so quickly demonized in the press. "Heavy-handed crackdowns on gangs alone will not resolve the underlying problem. Indeed, it may exacerbate them," Costa noted. "Gang culture is a symptom of a deeper social malaise that cannot be solved by putting all disaffected street kids behind bars. The future of Central America depends on seeing youth as an asset rather than a liability."

Colombia may drop anti-drug plan

Location: 
Bogota
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-colombia23may23,1,3903725.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Middle East: Opium Poppies Flower Again in Iraq

Ancient Iraq is the source of some of the earliest written accounts of opium poppy production. As far as 5,000 years back, the plant known to the ancient Sumerians as Hul Gil, the "joy plant," was cultivated in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia. Now, according to the London newspaper The Independent, opium production is once again underway in Iraq.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/opium-smaller.jpg
the opium trader's wares (photo by Chronicle editor Phil Smith during September 2005 visit to Afghanistan)
Rice farmers along the Euphrates river west of Diwaniya have switched to opium poppies, the Independent reported, citing "two students from there and a source in Basra familiar with the Iraqi drug trade." The newspaper noted that the area, which is the scene of power struggles between rival Shiite militia groups and outside the effective control of the national government, is too dangerous for Western journalists to visit.

While concern has been rising since the US invasion in 2003 about Iraq's role as a conduit in the international drug trade, particularly the distribution of Afghan heroin smuggled through Iran, into Iraq, and thence to wealthy Middle Eastern and Western European markets, the apparent turn toward poppy cultivation in Diwaniya is a first.

The reported poppy planting comes amidst increasing, if largely unreported, conflict in southern Iraq between the Mehdi Army of firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Badr Organization, the armed wing of Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. At least one source told The Independent that the current fighting in the south started over control of opium production, but has since spread into a general turf war.

Drug wars turn Colombian city deadly

Location: 
Buenaventura
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
International Herald Tribune (France)
URL: 
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/22/africa/colombia.php

Colombian Officials Linked to Drug Trade

Location: 
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
NPR
URL: 
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10318767

Our view on drugs and terror: A better way to deal with Afghanistan's poppy crop

Location: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
USA Today
URL: 
http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/05/our_view_on_dru.html

The Colombia experiment

Location: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/business/story.html?id=e0509bad-a8e3-402d-b9df-5622ad9f61ca

Latin America: Top Anti-Drug Official Gunned Down in Mexico City

Mexico's drug wars claimed a high profile victim Monday, as unknown gunmen assassinated Jose Nemesio Lugo Felix, the new head of a federal anti-drug intelligence unit, as he went to work in the southern part of Mexico City. The killing comes as the government of President Felipe Calderon is several months into an offensive against the drug trafficking organizations -- the so-called cartels -- that has seen thousands of Mexican police and soldiers sent into drug trafficking hotbeds in an effort to break the power of the cartels.

Lugo was driving to his office when his car was cut off by another vehicle carrying several gunmen, who fired at least three shots into his car, hitting him in the head and back. One of the assailants then jumped onto a waiting motorcycle and fled the scene, while the others drove away.

Lugo's assassination got the attention of US Ambassador Tony Garza, who issued a statement lamenting the killing. "A principled and tireless crime fighter, Mr. Lugo is the latest Mexican law enforcement official to have lost his life in a valiant stand against the criminals who seek to enrich themselves by destroying the very fabric of our society," Garza said. "American law enforcement officials who worked with Mr. Lugo admired him for his dedication and professionalism," he said.

Formerly the head of a unit in the federal attorney general's office that investigated trafficking of minors and illegal immigrants, Lugo was appointed just last month to lead an elite anti-drug intelligence unit in that same office. While other police and soldiers have been killed by the cartels -- including five soldiers killed in an ambush in Michoacan earlier this month -- Lugo's assassination marks the highest-level killing so far. His killing was also unusual in that in occurred in the capital, which has been spared most of the violence surrounding the Mexican drug trade and the efforts to suppress it.

Last year, prohibition-related violence killed more than 2,000 people, and this year the killing is occurring at an even more rapid pace, with an estimated 1,000 dead so far. Calderon's offensive, which has seen extensive military and police sweeps in border cities, Acapulco, and his home state of Morelos, has, instead of calming the situation, only thrown fuel on the fire.

Still, the Calderon government remains steadfast in its aggressive policy. "The deaths of the men and women who die while doing their duty is lamentable," Mexican drug czar Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos told the newspaper Reforma. "But in spite of this, we are winning this battle. We can't give ourselves the luxury of being cowed by organized crime."

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School