To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Forget HIV, Lack of Clean Water, Proper Nutrition and the Corrupt Governments Who Excaberate the Problems...Blame Cocaine

Catching up on my drug related reading can be a depressing exercise. Via the ONDCP's blog I found UN Drug Czar's -- Antonio Maria Costa -- latest speech on Europe's cocaine "epidemic". The whole thing is utter nonsense, you can take a look for yourself here.

Let's focus for now, on the supposed impact of the global, illegal cocaine market on West Africa. From his speech:

What does cocaine have to do with Africa?

Traditional cocaine trafficking routes from the Andean countries to North America are heavily patrolled. Trafficking into Europe has also become very difficult, as our airspace and our coastline are becoming harder to penetrate. Seizure rates are as high as half of production (estimated by UNODC at 940 t/y). We used to seize batches of 100-200 kg of coke: the latest seizure in Mexico was a staggering 23 tons!

Yet as demand for cocaine in Europe keeps growing, traffickers have found an alternative route - through West Africa.[...]

The international community cannot remain idle -- and I have pleaded in favor of African countries in my recent statement at the General Assembly. The situation on the ground in countries like Guinea Bissau is so bad that police cars do not have gas to chase suspects, no equipment to run investigations, no paper or pencil to note witness statements, no radios to call for back-up, no prisons to lock up convicted criminals, nothing.

As a result, Africa is under attack and cannot defend itself. Cocaine is being shipped in from South America to the countries of West Africa by boat, often by plane, then broken up into smaller consignments and sent up the coast to Morocco and then towards Europe.

The international community is reacting, but not as forcefully as needed. More than 4 tons of cocaine were seized in West Africa this year, a 35 per cent increase over the entire haul for 2006. The Spanish and British navies seized 9 tons of cocaine off the coast of West Africa last year. But this is probably only the tip of a cocaine iceberg. The drugs trade in Guinea Bissau may be as high as the country's national income. By comparison, in Afghanistan - which is often cited as the worst case - opium is equivalent to about half (53%) of the country's GDP. So Africa faces a crisis of epic proportions, by and large fuelled by Europe's cocaine users.
So we can agree on most of the facts. Yes, smuggling routes have switched over the years. One more example of how you can not win this war, but rather push the battle on to someone else's turf. Yes, being a major transportation hub for drug traffickers will cause local problems. Most of these people are violent criminals. Criminals tend to be attracted to very profitable, but very illegal, activities. No surprise there. Europe is causing most all of these problems, no doubt. But it isn't the cocaine user; it's the governments who have insisted on a global war on drugs pushing the cultivating, production, and sale of these substances into the hands of criminals.

Violent criminals aren't attracted to drugs because they are cool, it's the astronomical profits involved in selling an illegal good that has a demand that never seems to diminish.

You can also watch Costa here, bloviating on how marijuana use is out of control and more dangerous than heroin or cocaine....Sooo which drug am I suppose to avoid? I'm so confused....

Labels: , ,