The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
Officials in Mexico have announced that they will continue their current counter-narcotic strategy, regardless of the status of California’s Proposition 19, the amendment that would legalize the use and production of marijuana statewide, the Mexican daily Excelsior reported.
Drug use in several Latin American countries, including Mexico, is rising significantly, said a new report by the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The report is short on specific data per country, but does confirm a trend observed by analysts in recent years: cocaine use is down in the United States but up in Europe, while "crack" cocaine appears to be more avaliable in transit countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.
“We were wrong,” admitted William Brownfiled, according to La Jornada, in reference to the U.S. approach on the so-called "war on drugs." Brownfield, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, also acknowledged that the U.S. approach had to be less focused on law enforcement and jailing drug traffickers. “In 1979 we evaluated the drug use and trafficking question as a problem that was easily resolved with an aggressive campaign and huge effort," he said. "Thirty-two years have passed, and after billions of dollars and many strategies I can say we were wrong…” These declarations came during the 28th International Drug Enforcement Conference in Cancun, where representatives from over 100 countries (including a delegation from the Drug Enforcement Administration) are meeting until Friday. Brownfield maintained the usual U.S. prohibitionist stance on legalizing drugs, while advising drug consumer countries to try and reduce consumption levels. CM& of Colombia reported that Brownfield also declared that the Taliban and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colomba – FARC) are the two biggest drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) whose current political ideology is indistinguishable from the drug trade. These estimates are usually highly variable, but given that Mexican groups like the Sinaloa Cartel are controlling the U.S. delivery networks, InSight considers the Mexican DTOs are likely raking in bigger revenues than the FARC.
After Ecuador and the U.S. dismissed each others’ ambassadors last week, the future of diplomatic relations between the two countries looks bleak once again. This is part of a larger trend, as countries throughout the region distance themselves further from the U.S. and the "War on Drugs."
The death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan reminds us that the U.S.’s priority in the fight against criminal groups is to capture or kill their leaders. But is the so-called “kingpin strategy” really the best way to deal with these increasingly fragmented organizations?
Security forces have eradicated over 3,200 hectares of coca in Bolivia so far this year, reports national newspaper La Razon.
This is a record eradication rate for the first four months of the year, said Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti, adding that the government is on its way to surpassing last year's eradication total of 8,200 hectares.
According to the U.S. State Department's 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the eradication of 8,200 hectares in 2010 was offset by the growth of coca production elsewhere in the country. Bolivia's current legal amount of coca production is 12,000 hectares, although the government has pushed to increase that amount to 20,000.
The government also announced the deployment of 200 police officers to Santa Cruz department, in order to support anti-drug operations there.
Countries in the G8 group of industrialized nations, together with a number of countries in Latin America and Africa which are affected by the cocaine trade, agreed to use goods seized from traffickers to fund an action plan to stop transatlantic drug shipments.
The director of the U.S. Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) office in Bolivia has called for the two countries to work together in the fight against drugs.
Drug trafficking has made only a minor contribution to Colombia's economy, according to one Bogota academic, who says the illegal trade has never constituted more than four percent of the country's GDP.
Mexico's government offered an implicit defense of President Calderon's so-called “kingpin strategy,” which holds that the best way to take down a criminal group is to chop off the head, leaving the body to wither and die.