Sep 15, 2012

How the Militarized War on Drugs in Latin America Benefits Transnational Corporations and Undermines Democracy

Sunday, 05 August 2012 00:00
By Mark Karlin, Truthout | News Analysis

Is the So-Called War on Drugs in Mexico and Latin America Being Used to Advance US Military and Economic Interests?

In an article that explored myths about the war on illegal narcotics, "Drug War Capitalism," Canadian journalist Dawn Paley dispels the notion that nearly a trillion dollars spent on eradicating illegal drug trafficking (since Richard Nixon's administration) has shown any serious success.

Paley noted, "In the 11 years since Plan Colombia was launched [for example], the US government has spent over $3.6 billion on narcotics and law enforcement initiatives. Yet the US government reports that 'Colombia remains one of the world's largest producers and exporters of cocaine, as well as a source country for heroin and marijuana.'" Indeed, Paley cited a 2008 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found the "estimated flow of cocaine towards the United States from South America rising from 2000-2006."

As Truthout pointed out in "The US War on Drug Cartels in Mexico Is a Deadly Failure," the attempt to curtail trafficking in narcotics "in many of the southern nations of the Western Hemisphere is basically a bloody game of whack-a-mole.... There is no measurable indicator that the supply of illicit drugs into the United States is decreasing as a result. So, there is no end game here."

Juan Gabriel Tokatlian, professor of international relations at the Universidad de Di Tella, Argentina, substantiated this failure in an article, "Beating the Drug-War Addiction": "Indeed, USSOUTHCOM [United States Southern Command, headquartered in Miami, which oversees the US military in Latin America] has controlled 75% of the more than $12 billion that the US government has allocated to anti-drug activities in Latin America and the Caribbean since 2000. But, despite this expensive military campaign, all evidence shows that the 'war on drugs' has been a fiasco." Read more. 

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