Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Colombian Drug MulesDrug Trade and Trafficking Essay

Colombian Drug MulesDrug Trade and Trafficking - Essay Example 39). Jerry Speziale, an undercover narcotics agent who infiltrated one of the most powerful of the Colombian drug cartels, however, disagrees with this assessment. Insisting that government weakness, not complicity is at the source of the problem, Speziale contends that poverty and lack of economic options are the primary reasons for the survival and growth of the Colombian drug trade (p. 76). Indeed, this appears to be the suggestion forwarded in the film "Maria Full of Grace." In this film, a pregnant teenager becomes a drug mule, despite all that it involves in terms of danger to life, health and freedom, because she has no other option for supporting herself and her family. Poverty and economic necessity drive her to become a drug mule ("Maria Full of Grace"). This points to governmental weakness, not complicity because it evidences the failure of the government to provide the population with economic options outside of the drug trade. Quite simply stated, as long as the governme nt cannot furnish its populace with economic opportunities and the drug cartels can, the trade will flourish. Both the Colombian and the US governments have poured substantial financial, military and human resources into the war on drugs with very little effect because of the political and economic power enjoyed by the cartels versus the weakness of the government. Over tOver the past two decades, the Colombian government has sought to eliminate the production and transit of illicit narcotics in its national territory. Working closely with the U.S. and other members of the inter-American narcotics control regime, the Colombian government has implemented "supply-reduction" programs that eradicate drug plantings, destroy drug processing laboratories, intercept the transportation of narcotics and the chemicals used to make them, and apprehend suspected drug traffickers and confiscate their illicit profits (Linton, p. 89). The costs of these programs, in terms of budget allocations and human personnel, are significant. Since the early 1980s, the Colombian government has spent several billion US dollars to implement supply-reduction initiatives within its national territory. While the Colombian government has received considerable anti-narcotics assistance from the U.S. and other foreign governments over the years, it has also invested a substantia l portion of its own resources in the "war on drugs" (Linton, pp. 88-90). Moreover, in recent years, the Colombian government's anti-drug expenditures have increased significantly. In the 1980s, Colombia's anti-narcotics budget varied between US$20 and 25 million per year, with the U.S. providing half this amount. In 1995 the Colombian government devoted US$900 million of its own funds to anti-drug efforts, and in 1996 this amount increased to over US$ 1.3 billion. In 1997, the Colombian government allocated US$ 1.1 billion for counter-narcotics efforts, which represented 4.8% of the government's budget for that year (Lee, p. 202; CNN, 1998a, n.p.). The financial resources which are poured into the war on drugs is constantly spiralling and, it seems, with hardly any lasting effect on the trade. The human costs of the Colombian government's counter-narcotics efforts are even greater. Every year thousands of Colombian civilian and military officials participate in various phases of planning and/or implementing supply-reduction policies. The danger inherent in this

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