Friday, 17 September 2010

Cocaine, the USA, Venezuela and Europe

Francisco writes a post about the insinuations from former US ambassador Bolton that the Venezuelan government may be on the road to Latino nukes. I had seen the same kind of suggestions from US American sources for quite some time. As much as I dislike the corrupt military regime Venezuela has now, I have to say that in this case all this sounds like fabricating matrices de opinión, as zealous Chavista honcho Cilia Flores would say. Some groups have been particularly active in fueling this kind of discussion. Some US missionaries, for instance, formerly accused for many years of prospecting for uranium around La Esmeralda, started to throw the same accusations to Iranians in Venezuela. Are Iranians into that? I do not know and I think although we need to be cautious with Iran's activities in Venezuela, we need to be cautious with any accusations and who can benefit from them.

And now to drugs...

Some time ago I wrote about the Venezuelan plane that crashed in Mali loaded with cocaine. I asked some questions. I wrote again and again, based on what I read from Malian newspapers and some other sources. Because of those posts, a journalist working for a think tank based in Switzerland wrote to me with a form: please, answer in 4 to 5 sentences. Among other things, she asked whether I thought there was an Al Qaeda connection, as wrote Douglas Farah, a journalist son of missionaries who is apparently detecting Al Qaeda everywhere. I have to say I was shocked by how eagerly some draw conclusions on WMD and terrorists everywhere.

I had to say I frankly did not know, I could not get to those conclusions and what I could mostly see was that the Venezuelan military is deeply corrupt, more corrupt than ever, and that some people there may be involved in drug trafficking. This does not sell, but well, I am not a journalist. I wrote back stating I still don't see a case for accusing the Venezuelan government as such, as much as I dislike it, of having a policy to finance itself through drug trade or the like. There are other things that to my understanding are clearer, like the FARC/ELN connections (this from 5min and so much more).

Let's put it like this: I have the impression the Venezuelan regime is indeed very ineffective and there are military and police agents galore involved in the trade, but the Colombian government is not far off (yes, even considering the civil war going on there) and so is the Mexican one with its military and Mexico does not even have a civil war. Sure, cocaine trade through Venezuela has increased a lot in the last few years and this is very worrying, but Colombia is still the main land of production by far and Mexico is a mess because of the drugs, many of which are not coming from Venezuela. Who are the real actors in any of those governments? I do not know and I doubt very much many people know.

What I do think very strongly is that there are vested interests everywhere for the "war on drugs" to go on exactly as it has been going on for the last decades. Those vested interests include drug dealers, guerrillas, paramilitary, but also mid-ranking officers in the "security sector" in countries left and right, South and North.

Above all: the drug problem is hugely fueled by the dollars and the euros of North Americans and Europeans who don't see their consumption is in great part responsible for the many thousands of murders in Latin America every year.

Do we want a grown-up discussion about how to fight the drug problem? Or do we go on behaving in an irrational way and let ourselves be manipulated by different interest groups? I want one single journalist to ask an active head of state in the North the following: "could you tell us if you consider it would be political suicide for you to suggest the war on drugs has to be radically reconsidered?

Please, watch the following video and then the second part. It is about Mexico, but the rules and conditions affect everyone in America, from Canada to Chile...and also Europe, from Portugal to Russia.

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