article from April 10, 2012
By Jamie Douglas
Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is a real war. Well over 50,000 human beings have lost their lives in this war, many of them good and a whole lot of them bad guys, just in Mexico alone.
While Guatemala’s new President Otto Pérez Molina, on the surface, is speaking against the war on drugs and is saying he is for legalization, as more and more Latin American leaders are, he nevertheless has to defend his country from being taken over by the Zetas.
The northern region of Guatemala bordering Mexico has long been plagued by violent drug gangs taking over entire regions in the Petén, where they enslave the locals to build clandestine airstrips for the planes from Colombia and Costa Rica that arrive in broad daylight. The Petén department is the northernmost as well as the largest, encompassing 13,843 square miles of mostly sparsely inhabited jungle and ranchland.
A month after his swearing in, the new president stated that he and other Latin American leaders would consider decriminalizing illicit drugs to fight trafficking in the region. That is very noble of him. But does he really want Guatemala to become another Costa Rica or Panama, which are semi-legal trans-shipment points for Peruvian Marching Powder? Guatemala already has one of the highest murder rates in the world, at 16 murders per day in country with 38 out of 100,000 citizens murdered every year.
Way back in the 1990s when my wife and I traveled through Guatemala twice a year, cocaine was easily obtainable and dirt cheap. The market was controlled by Italian hoods, many of them, at this point, long deceased at the hands of the Mexicans and Colombians who realized that the country could serve their needs as a trans-shipment point. From an airstrip in the Petén jungle, the air distance to the Gulf Coast shores of the United States is less than 1,000 miles. While the preferred point of departure is the Yucatan Peninsula, as it lies much closer to the US mainland, it is also occupied by the Mexican military, as well as having a large number of less corruptible DEA agents operating sophisticated radars and satellites.
It must also be understood that legalizing illicit drugs will not be a cure-all for the affected nations. The trafficking will stay and probably increase, with more and more of the product being left behind, fueling more and more misery created by addiction mixed with already deep social problems.
Another concern: When legalized, who will handle the trade – Pfizer, Hoffman or any of the hundreds of international parasitic drug companies that are already in the pharmaceutical business? And when it comes to the USA, there is no way that the so-mentioned honorable drug companies are willing to let this, the most lucrative trade ever, be handled by anyone other than themselves. Why, this could potentially be bigger than online porn. Imagine that!
The United States has already denounced the potential for legalization strongly.
Recently officials of the Latin American nations and US officials met in Costa Rica to discuss the problem of spreading drug gang violence. The problem is actually twofold: There are the consumer nations, which encompass virtually the entire Western World, and the producer nations, which, through corruption, have allowed the industry to get control of entire countries. (Head South from Mexico to Bolivia and you will see every single nation entangled in the trade.)
To my thinking, legalization will not work. Imagine the logistical nightmare of transporting and warehousing a substance that sells typically for US$30,000 to $50,000 per kilo, and with adulteration and an insatiable consumer market, it will easily bring in a minimum of $100,000. To put this in perspective, gold, on Monday, April 9, traded at $53,600 per kilo, and it is not a consumable item, nor does it does grow fresh crops on a continuing basis.
Those who advocate legalizing drugs, and I are not talking about marijuana, had better come up with a damn good plan that starts at the point of cultivation and goes right up to the nostrils of the end user.
But in the end, it is just all about money – the hundreds of billions of dollars in cash floating around now are very corrupting. Take a relatively high-ranking cop in Honduras: Is he going to pass up a suitcase full of money every month to help out the narco-terrorist, or take a bullet?
Legalization of hard drugs will not come about when the Zetas and the CIA have decided to cooperate with each other. The logistics of reining in that web of deception are way too overwhelming.
San Rafael, Mendoza
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