Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cocaine Trade Shifts Out Of Colombia To Other SA Countries To Meet US Demand

As economists understand, suppliers will always attempt to find ways to meet demand, especially in a profitable, established market. Legalizing cocaine and other illicit drugs and taxing it would do more to win the US war on drugs than all our attempts to criminalize its use and production and limit its availability.

From The Wall Street Journal, "Cocaine: The New Front Lines: Colombia's success in curbing the drug trade has created more opportunities for countries hostile to the United States." by John Lyons:
fundamental shift in the cocaine trade that is complicating U.S. efforts to fight it. Once concentrated in Colombia, a close U.S. ally in combating drugs, the cocaine business is migrating to nations such as Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, where populist leaders are either ambivalent about cooperating with U.S. antidrug efforts or openly hostile to them.

Since 2000, cultivation of coca leaves—cocaine's raw material—plunged 65% in Colombia, to 141,000 acres in 2010, according to United Nations figures. In the same period, cultivation surged more than 40% in Peru, to 151,000 acres, and more than doubled in Bolivia, to 77,000 acres.
Ironically, the shift is partly a by-product of a drug-war success story, Plan Colombia. In a little over a decade, the U.S. spent nearly $8 billion to back Colombia's efforts to eradicate coca fields, arrest traffickers and battle drug-funded guerrilla armies such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Colombian cocaine production declined, the murder rate plunged and the FARC is on the run.

But traffickers adjusted. Cartels moved south across the Ecuadorean border to set up new storage facilities and pioneer new smuggling routes from Ecuador's Pacific coast. Colombia's neighbor to the east, Venezuela, is now the departure point for half of the cocaine going to Europe by sea.

No comments:

Post a Comment