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					       War on drugs

The cases of Colombia and Mexico
 A tale of two epochs
WHY COLOMBIA?
         But first, the business
1. Planting & harvesting the coca leaf (2 species
   & 2 varieties): US $3 dollar/kg
2. Conversion of coca leaves into coca paste &
   coca base & cocaine: US $3.000 dollar/kg
   (from US $200)
3. Smuggling & delivering to distributor in the
   US: US $18.000 dollar/kg
4. Distributor-dealer-user: US $200.000
   dollar/kg
THE TWO MOMENTS IN A
   COLOMBIAN SAGA
In the heart of the route of …. cocaine
But ….
AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN
  1976-1991: Colombia as a cocaine
          “kitchen” & hub

• Colombian modest industrial & commercial
  capacity: apt for coca processing
• People highly skilled in logistics: due to
  Colombian poor highways
• Important Colombian community living in the
  US (Miami)
• 1991: 25.000 hectares planted with coca
                    Why?

• Private rationality overtakes collective
  responsibility
• Lack of social capital (strong community &
  family & schools) that may help to prevent
  anti-social behavior
• A weak Colombian state: unable to control
  territory; strong in economic management;
  impervious to popular demands.
• The parallel economy factor (culture of
  illegality) in a closed economy that fostered
  quasi-illegal activities (smuggling & emeralds)
The consequence
    1991-2010: Colombia as cocaine
               producer
• 2000: 163.000 hectares
• Successful eradication program in Peru: the
  balloon effect.
• Birth of (complex) syndicated cartels and their
  fragmentation: the never ending explosion
  (The Medellin Cartel, The Cali Cartel, the
  North of Valle Cartel, ……)
• Today: Colombia produces 70% of global
  cocaine
         Plan Colombia (2000)
           Joint effort US-Colombia aimed to:

1. Reduce the production of illegal drugs
   (primarily cocaine) by 50% in 6 years
2. Improve security in Colombia by re-claiming
   control of areas held by illegal armed groups
   (leftish & right-wing!)
                   Results
• US spent US $4 billion; Colombia US $7 billion
  (1.5% GDP per year) between 2000-2006
• Results: 50% reduction in coca crop acreage
  (now 80.000 hectares) but
• Cocaine production: only 11% reduction (300
  tons/year) & prices fairly stable
• Why? More productive cultivation techniques
                           Mejia & Restrepo (2009)
• Colombia has become a safer place due to
  curbing on drugs´ collateral business:
  kidnappings, extortion …. corruption …
• Back to square one: Peru and Bolivia back to
  the market?
WHITHER MEXICO
• Since the late 1980: the main conduit for
  Colombian cocaine (and an active marihuana,
  heroin & methamphetamines producer)
• December 2006: President Calderon declares
  war on drugs cartels
• Why? A real threat or an attempt to posture
  as a though leader?
             The contenders
• The Gulf Cartel (Matamoros, Tamaulipas) plus
  Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman (The Sinaloa
  Cartel, Culiacan), The Familia Cartel
  (Michoacan)
                       vs.
 The Zetas (GC former armed wing, Tamaulipas)
                       and
  The Ciudad Juarez Cartel,, The Beltran-Leyva
                  Cartel (Sinaloa)
The battlefield
                 The results

• The US is helping a hand with the Merida
  Initiative: 1.4 billions multiyear (450 millions
  per year)
• Death toll of 22.000 people dead in the entire
  country
• Mayhem in the border: the case of Ciudad
  Juarez (and other cities, Nuevo Laredo,
  Reynosa)
      Conclusions (by Mexicans)
• “The Mexican drug war is costly, unwinnable,
  and predicated on dangerous myths.”
  (Castañeda & Aguilar).
• Mexico is not a failed state but is entangled in
  a failed war against drug cartels
• The real problem: the captured state (at
  provincial level) by the mob!
      An (personal) assessment

• A huge cost for Colombia: environmental
  degradation, corruption, violation of human
  rights, political, empowerment of criminals .
• Drugs trafficking politically blind: leftish
  guerrilla (FARC) as the major cartel; the old
  right-wing paramilitary (new criminal gangs)
  as leading political actors (2010 elections).
            And questions …
• Is there any way to tackle or reduce the
  international demand for drugs?
• Is there any winning strategy for Mexico apart
  from legalization of marijuana and heroin?
• Is Colombia daring enough to open the
  international debate for legalization (in the
  near future)?
      Could anyone do anything in
              Colombia?
• The US Government is investing US $465
  million per year.
• The estimates is that US 1.5 billion per year
  reduces 20% in the amount of cocaine
  reaching consumer countries.
• So, US $7.5 billion per year is needed for ever
  from American pursue. Is it feasible?
MANY THANKS

				
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