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War on Drugs
War On Drugs
Introduction (done by Reece):
The War on Drugs is a campaign of drug prohibition and international military aid undertaken by the United States government. The War on Drugs was first implemented in the mid 1900's by Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. The War on Drugs attempts to end the import, manufacture, sale, and use of illegal drugs not only in the United States, but also in countries around the world, predominately in Latin America (About.com). Since the beginning of the War on Drugs, various controversial policies have been implemented by participating nations both, domestically and internationally. Some of these initiatives in the domestic arena include the incarceration of drug users and as a result, prison populations have skyrocketed since the implementation of the War on Drugs. This skyrocketing prison population has caused overcrowding in prisons and often leads to adverse effects on the prison population (About.com). Many foreign policy initiatives have also been undertaken, mostly by the United States government. These neo-conservative policies often include using military force in order to implement and maintain the policies in an often Anti-American environment. The controversy surrounding the War on Drugs is felt within the domestic and foreign arenas. The War on Drugs is often met with hostility in Latin American countries. Countries such as Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela and others regard the War on Drugs as a way for America to spread its influence around the globe. This has resulted in various Anti-American governments being elected to power in Latin America, most notably in Cuba with Fidel Castro, and Venezuela with Hugo Chavez. However, this opposition to the War on Drugs is also felt heavily domestically. In an October 2008 poll 78% of voters described the War on Drugs as a failure and many American citizens believe the War on Drugs is an infringement on the private life on citizens, and that governments should not regulate what people do in private (About.com). These opinions are at the forefront of the fight for legalization of "soft drugs" such as Marijuana. The War on Drugs is a controversial issue with no immediate end in sight, although reform is expected. The Barack Obama administration pledged to continue drug prohibition but not to use the term "War on Drugs" as it is counterproductive (Wall Street Journal). This is a more liberal approach to drug prohibition with more money allocated to the treatment of drug use rather than the incarceration of drug users (Office of National Drug Control Policy).
History of the War on Drugs implementation (done by Rebca):
Until 1875 there were no laws in the United States prohibiting certain types of drugs this meant that Cocaine and other drugs were legally used, regardless of the reasons for usage. In 1914 The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was passed which deemed non medical uses of heroin and cocaine illegal (Head, 2008). This was around the time that rumors about the “cocaine crazed Negro” (drug policy.org, 2008) were on circulation, which was then connected to “Negros on drug who attacked White women”(drug policy.org, 2008). From here on the public’s concern for drug usage was on the rise. This lead to the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, which banned marijuana as it was now see as a gate way drug (Head, 2008). Like the ‘Crazed Negro’ story and cocaine, marijuana was also labeled a ‘Mexican Drug in 1969 (Drug War Facts, 2007). With this declaration came Operation Intercept, which enforced strict surveillance on both Mexican borders and farmers. This had a huge impact on trade that occurred between the United States and Mexico and also put many farmers who grew hemp into poverty by wiping out their main income generator, their farms.
The term "War on Drugs" was first used in 1971 by American President Richard Nixon, Nixon pushed for drug treatment especially for those on heroin (Drug War Facts, 2007). This was a major point in the history of War on Drug implementation, as Nixon had declared this a ‘war.’ In doing so Nixon strengthened the intensity of the implementation, and implied that drugs were something that posed a threat to the well being of citizens, thus they must fight against it. Methods of fighting against the ‘War on Drugs’ included treatment to those who were ‘addicts,’ the problem with this was that the ones who could receive treatment were the people who belonged to the dominant class. After 1973 drug use was no longer marked as a ‘social disease’ that could be corrected with treatment, instead it was now being seen as an ‘enforcement’ problem and was to be corrected by implementing strict criminal justice laws (Drug War Facts, 2007), (Head, 2008). This lead to the massive expansion of jails and prisons, as people who had associations with drugs, would be considered criminals and could be punished by the law. With 1988 came increased penalties for drug offenders, these penalties were introduced with the Anti-Drug Abuse Amendment Act (Head, 2008).
When considering the development of anti drug laws one can make an educated assumption that laws were created in accordance to the user demographic. In 1995, people protested this exact correlation and attempted to try and reduce disparities around crack cocaine, and powder cocaine (Drug War Facts, 2007). Statistics show that White crack users are more likely to use powder cocaine, while the usage demographic for crack cocaine is predominately Black. Sentencing for power cocaine is much more lenient than the sentencing for crack cocaine and thus the change of law was pursued as a effort to provide sentenc ing, free of race and class. This was an unsuccessful attempt as Congress over ruled the recommendation of revising minimum sentencing guidelines in 1995.
Today all the laws which govern drug use are in tact in most states although some cities /states prove to be an exception to the rule. Oakland, CA is one of these places as they passed “adult social marijuana use, cultivation, and sales the lowest law enforcement priority in the city” (Drug War Facts, 2007), in 2004.
MARIJUANA PROPAGANDA VIDEO
Domestic Policy of War on Drugs (done by Adam):
Canada, as compared to the United States (US) War on Drugs, has a much more laid back and preventative strategy for fighting drugs. Canada's National Drug Policy was launched in 1987 with a focus put on reducing demand and increasing the number of effective treatment facilities (Diane Leduc).
Instead of fighting the drugs directly from entering the country so much, Canada is more focused on the idea of prevention and treatment rather than enforcement. Prevention against the creation of drugs (grow operations, Meth Labs) but more notably the prevention of the consumption of drugs, Canada's idea and method of fighting drugs is to destroy the market for drug dealers to sell to. Through education and safe treatment facilities and organizations, Canada plans to fight Drug use as a means of combating the import and creation of drugs in the Country.
As for recreational drug use Canada understands that as long as drugs are still accessible to the public then there will always be a market for drugs. Instead of hiding the fact that drug abuse occurs through programs such as the Yellow Box and the Needle exchange program for used needles drug users are given a safe method for the disposal of used needles as well as a as outlet to receive clean needles without risk of penalty so that the syringes can be used without the risk or spread of disease. The government of Canada recently added 30 million dollars of new funding for prevention to help bolster existing prevention efforts as well as another 100 million (Diane Leduc) in treatment funding. In total Canada In just one year put over 130 million Dollars into not the fight to keep drugs out of the country or to fight the production of drugs in other countries but has Invested most of its money into Education to prevent youth of Canada to experiment or become reliant on the Drugs through addiction, also to prevention for those who are already and help them with programs and methods of drug addiction treatment.
It is estimated that Canada has roughly 250,000 cocaine users (Diane Leduc), most of which comes from Brazil Colombia and Venezuela, with just a few large illegal organizations mainly Asian, Italian and Latin American being the main cocaine traffickers to Canada. Most of the cocaine trafficking is done by water into Canadian ports. Yet it is well understood that marijuana and its derivatives (hashish) are by a large margin Canada’s most popular illicit drug. It is due a large part to this fact why Canada recently in 2001 became the first Country to legalize marijuana for medical use (Khoo). It allowed for persons with allot of pain or is terminally ill to use Marijuana as way to ease the pain. This of course led to an outcry for the legalization of Marijuana in Canada for the masses, which led to the laws being edited many times over the course of months after this, at the time 15 grams of the drug would only be punishable with a 400 dollar fine. Since then and as recently Canada has taken a more American Style attack on the Marijuana industry in 2009 Stephen Harper created a bill which meant that Dealers of the drug would face a automatic 1 year prison sentence with producers of large grow operations facing 7-14 year in prison (Khoo).
As a whole Canada has taken to the idea that Drug use will occur Drugs trafficking will always find a way to transport drugs into Canada, but we can help those who have already been effecting by drugs through treatment for those already addicted or help those who are going to be faced with drugs in the future through prevention for the youth. This in contrast is much different to the war on drugs the United States is fighting to keep drugs out of their country.
Canada’s new anti drug Campaign is called Not4Me, and it emphasizes in so many ways how Canada has decided to fight drugs. With education and prevention being their main goal with this Campaign, it shows a young boy at a party one that most junior high students(this ads demographic) have been to and quickly shows how Marijuana use is just a gateway to what they portray as a very risky lifestyle. Canada invested Millions of dollars not to keep Drugs from entering the country but to educating the youth, those who have still yet to experience aspects of adolescence and the beginnings of adulthood and
haven’t yet created their own opinions on these topics. The Canadian government plans and hopes through the education of the youth, it will then destroy the market for illicit substances and by doing so keep young adults off of more harmful drugs. This Idea of education, if it works will affect the need for treatment options and facilities saving the country and taxpayers money. Canada’s policy can be defined as a very nationalistic effort, focusing on the problems that are already plaguing the country instead of focusing on foreign struggles abroad. Canada focuses on fighting their war on drugs on Canadian soil through education and hopefully destroying the market for illegal drugs.
Foreign Policy of War on Drugs (done by Reece):
Outside of the United States many policies, many of which include military force or spending, have been implemented. Many of these policies have been centered in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, Columbia, and Panama. These operations often leave the public at a disadvantage and sometimes result in civilian causalities. The War on Drugs has been labelled as propaganda to justify military operations and spending, while not doing anything to help drug problems in affected areas. Latin American countries often believe that the United States true motives are to fight left-wing governments by giving aid to groups who often are involved in drug trafficking (Cockburn). These corrupt policies often cause resistance and aid in the emergence of anti-American sentiments in Latin American countries such as Venezuela. It is also common for the United States government to give military aid to paramilitary organizations who often unfairly persecute native populations in Latin American countries. All of these policies implemented, mostly by the United States governments cause widespread discontent and poverty among rural and urban workers who are negatively effected by these foreign drug policies.
The first anti-drug efforts undertaken in the foreign scope was in September 1969 by President Richard Nixon. This policy, called Operation Intercept, aimed to reduce or eliminate the flow of cannabis entering the United States from Mexico. This resulted in an near shutdown of border crossings between Mexico and the United States. This policy was met with thousands of complaints from cross-border travelers and the Mexican President. As a result, the searching of vehicles was drastically reduced, and ultimately eliminated (Online Drug Library). This policy was largely regarded as a failure, but the Nixon government believed that it discouraged drug trafficking across the border and encouraged the Mexican government to cut down of illegal drug use (Online Drug Library).
Operation Just Cause, or the United States Invasion of Panama, was perhaps the most drastic of all foreign policies implemented by the United States throughout the history of drug prohibition. Operation Just Cause used military intervention in order to combat the Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega's involvement in drug trafficking and non-democratic government (globalsecurity.org). The invasion of Panama sparked international outrage with the General Assembly of the United Nations condemning the invasion as a violation of international law. Noriega was ultimately captured by the United States military and a US recognized government was put in place in Panama. This government was left in a state of total destruction by the United States invasion and poverty, homelessness and lawlessness were prevalent in Panama years after the invasion (Britannica). Casualties were also high among Panamanian civilians and the Panama military. 205 Panamanian military personnel were killed in the invasion and up to 4,000 Panamanian civilians were killed as well. The invasion of Panama demonstrated the new policy of United States intervention in Latin American states in relation to the War on Drugs and the combat of left-wing governments (globalsecurity.org).
Plan Colombia is a initiative by the United States government that aimed at the curbing of drug smuggling and combating of left-wing political groups in Colombia. Plan Colombia aimed to fight these left-wing political and revolutionary factions through military aid and training. As seen in the movie "School of the Americas Assassins", many of the graduates from the School of Americas end up violating human rights and end up being powerful dictators, such as Manuel Noriega. Critics of Plan Colombia also hold that abuses by right-wing paramilitary forces against left-wing guerilla organizations are also prevalent due to the Plan Colombia initiative. The Plan Colombia policy has been heavily critized by the international community of trying to influence United States beliefs and ideologies on Latin American countries. Plan Colombia is also criticized for not trying to eradicate drug trafficking through social and economic reforms, but almost entirely through Military and Police aid (Online Drug Library)
U.S. Aid to Colombia, 1996-2006 (ciponline.org)
Aid in millions
As you can see from the chart above the aid given to Colombia since Plan Colombia was implemented has been largely used for military/police forces, training, and purchasing of new weaponry to combat left-wing guerillas. These groups often violate human rights and use unnecessary force when dealing with these factions. Another controversial element of Plan Colombia is the use of aerial fumigation to eradicate the coca plant. This activity has been heavily scrutinized due to the adverse health effects on those exposed to the herbicides and the damaging of legal crops.
Aerial herbicide application that is sponsored by the United States government is perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of the ongoing War on Drugs in Latin America. Toxic chemicals such as Agent Orange and Roundup are released over the jungles of Latin America in an effort to eradicated illicit drug production in the area. This initiative often has adverse affects on farmers including destruction of crops, health problems, birth defects, and in the most serious cases, death. Latin America is also home to some of the most diverse and delicate ecosystems on our planet. These toxic herbicides often damage plant and animal life and along with the destruction of rain forests and jungles across Latin America pose a significant threat to the ecosystem. Also, many farmers say that the aerial herbicide destroys their crops, and as a result they are starving. Also the effects of the chemical Agent Orange, which was also used in the Vietnam War, have been shown to be extremely toxic even in low quantities.
Arguments For/Against the War on Drugs (done by Rebca):
The War on Drug has been a highly controversial war. In the beginning the majority of Americans were in favor of the war, as they believed it was a war being fought in order to protect them, the citizens. As the years seemed to drag on people began to question the motives behind the war, resulting in a split between those who are against the war and those who are in support of the war. These are their arguments:
Against the War on Drugs are:
Many feel it is a waste tax dollars. These people would support their argument by stating the continuous increase in both crime and disparity. These increases can also be directly linked to the War on Drugs as prohibition has resulted in guerrillas, underground operations, and a massive increase in the availability of drugs (Drug War Facts, 2007). One country that shows the effects of the War on Drugs would be Mexico. With the $1.6 billion dollar Merida Initiative, Mexico has faced an enormous rise in corruption, war, poverty and gangs.
Those considering Mexico as a country which has suffered the consequences of the War on Drugs, some would go further and argue that the war is a racist campaign held by the United States of America (Drug War Facts, 2007). This can be supported by the fact that the War on Drugs was waged against Latin American countries and also proven by crime statistics that document colored minorities at a far greater risk of being "targeted by law enforcement for drug crimes, and receive much stiffer penalties and sentences than non- minorities(Human Rights Watch, 2000). The War on Drugs has also resulted in the United States being home to the most incarcerated in the entire world. About 55% of federal prisoners and 21% of state-level prisoners are incarcerated on the basis of drug-related offenses (Head, 2008).
Another argument held mostly by environmentalists would be that the War on Drugs is also very harsh on the environment and is contributing to the destruction of healthy soil due to the large amounts of toxic herbicides that has been sprayed to stop the production of 'drugs.' Some of these places include the jungles of Columbia. In spraying these herbicides, not only is the environment at grate danger, but it is also putting the health of farmers at risk, as exposure to the toxins can lead to health problems, birth defects, and death (Drug War Facts, 2007). On top of all the great risks the farmers face they also face the risk of poverty. The crops which the farmers produce are often their only source of income. Once their primary source of income is destroyed, it places the farmers in a desperate situation, often leading to poverty and the inability of one to provide the basic necessities for one's family.
The effects of alcohol and cigarettes are also another prominent argument provided by those who are against the drug war. Both alcohol and cigarettes are scientifically proven to be far more hazardous than marijuana to an individual’s life, and society as a whole (Drug War Facts, 2007). It is for this reason that people find it hard to understand the prohibition against marijuana, when there are other drugs, legal, which put the safety of society at risk.
Arguments in support of the War on Drugs:
Some have argued that by reducing drugs, the rates of drug-related crime, violence, and health consequences will also be reduced (Blog Critics, 2005). This is an argument that has been used repeatedly by the Republicans. People in favor of this argument seem to connect crime rates to drug use, and believe that the War on
Decreased Drug Use Corresponding with the War on Drugs
Drugs is a necessary war which they are fighting for the safety of all citizens.
In order to decrease drugs and in turn be able to affect crime rates, laws based on drug prohibition need to be created. With the increase of penalties for drug offenders came the steady decrease of marijuana use among college students from1981 through 1991, dropping by nearly half from 51% usage to 27% (Johnston, O'Malley, Bachman & Schulenberg, 2007, p.134). Marijuana use has declined by close to a combined 25% among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders (Johnston et. al, 2007, p.134). These statistics are used to further support the benefits of the War on Drugs and the positive effect such laws have had on the decision of American’s youngest citizens.
By looking at the arguments one will notice that arguments in support of the war are fewer in number than arguments against the war. This is a pattern that has proven to be true through my research. There are far more facts that are against the war than those in support, for this reason the War on Drugs has become a very hard war to justify.
Social effects (done by Regan):
"U.S. drug control efforts have provoked a war on the poor and an assault on democratic institutions...We’ve spent billions on anti-drug efforts in Latin Americaand have nothing to show for it but collateral damage” (Singer, 2008, p.83). Latin America has been socially affected by the U.S. War on Drugs. Anti-drug fumigation is a process carried out by the U.S. in Latin America that is against the coca and poppy (opium) crops (Carpenter, 2003). Poison is sprayed by military-escorted airplanes onto drug crops (Carpenter, 2003). This process has caused harm to the health of many people within Latin America as well as to the country’s environment. The spraying is meant to affect only the drug crops; however, food, people, the environment, and livestock have all been severely affected (Drug Policy Network, 2010). Respiratory problems, skin rashes, vomiting, hair loss, premature births, and miscarriages are all issues that the people of Latin America face due to the spraying (Drug Policy Alliance Network, 2010). Every time crops are sprayed by Americans, the crops are destroyed by the toxic chemicals, ruining that environment and the surrounding areas (Drug Policy Alliance Network, 2010). Therefore, the producers are pushed farther into the rainforest which is destined to be destroyed later on, continuing this vicious cycle of environmental destruction. Also, large areas where coca plantations are located are burned down, further damaging the environment. The spraying of the crops also leaves the poor farmers even poorer because their land is damaged due to the spraying, leaving them with few economic alternatives to support their families (Carpenter, 2009; Drug Policy Alliance Network, 2010).
Violence and corruption has increased throughout Latin America due to the War on Drugs (Carpenter, 2003; Corchado, 2009). More than ten murders a day take place within Columbia and the chance of being kidnapped is at its highest level (Corchado, 2009). The law is breaking down in most countries and since drugs are prohibited, the illegal market has grown in both production and distribution within Latin America (Thoumi, 2003). In turn, this has led to a greater empowerment of the corrupt government officials and organized criminals (Carpenter, 2003; Corchado, 2009). Some political leaders are at risk to even stay within their own countries, so they have left until they can be reassured safety. Guerilla groups have also increased throughout Latin America and no longer fight about politics, but rather over drugs. These guerilla groups, specifically the FARCS, believe that they have benefited from the War on Drugs because they believe the United States is helping them destroy the lives and options for the poorest civilians within Latin America ( NACLA report on the americas, 1997; Thoumi, 2003). Finally, the War on Drugs has allowed the use of torture to be spread throughout law enforcement and has contributed to significant social conflict and political instability (Singer, 2008).
Economic effects (done by Regan):
Latin America’s economy has been affected by the War on Drugs as the drug traffickers continue to reap the benefits while those who are marginalized and poor continue to struggle and are left with no economic alternatives to farming (NACLA report on the americas, 1997). The current situation for those poor farmers cultivating coca is if they stop growing coca, their families will be left hungry and for them, this is the last option they will take (Thoumi, 2003). The War on Drugs implemented by the United States has been perpetuating the supply and demand for coca production and therefore affecting the economy throughout Latin America (Thoumi, 2003). All the money that is being brought into Latin America’s economy by the United States, supposedly to help aid the drug situation and re-stabilize and decrease the corruption occurring throughout their vast economic activities, is being put towards military aid (NACLA report on the americas, 1997; Thoumi, 2003). Therefore, the majority of the money is fueling military equipment and is not being put towards any type of developing aid which could benefit those who are struggling, those who could gain other means of employment through their aid, enter the workforce and contribute to the economic market (NACLA report on the americas, 1997).
The supply logic behind the War on Drugs is to go after a stationary crop because it is easier to destroy than to hit a continuously moving target (Thoumi, 2003). However, this is not the case and is not working because the coca eradication efforts demonstrate so. Between 1995 and 1996, the production of coca in Latin America decreased by 2% and has been on the rise since then (NACLA report on the americas, 1997). The balloon effect is what continues to occur, where the production of coca is squeezed in one area and therefore it migrates to another where it can again prosper (NACLA report on the americas, 1997; Singer, 2008; Thoumi, 2003). An example of this is in Peru. Coca production plants used to be confined to the area of the Upper Huallaga Valley (NACLA report on the americas, 1997). However, now these coca production plants flourish in the Ucayali valleys, La Convencion, and throughout the Huallaga Valleys and beyond (NACLA report on the americas, 1997).
The production of coca continues to explode in different countries because the War on Drugs pushes it from one area to the next, benefiting the black market, with little gain for the actual economic market of Latin America. In Columbia, the industry has been vertically integrated by the cocaine mafias who have obtained entire control over all the stages of production and no longer import any raw materials (NACLA report on the americas, 1997). Therefore, Columbia has had a massive explosion in coca production, replacing Bolivia, and taking second rank in the largest producer, falling just short behind Peru (NACLA report on the americas, 1997). Therefore, the War on Drugs is not benefiting the economy throughout Latin America, and there is no real gain except by means of corruption.
The profit paradox, the more effective control efforts are made in the short-run, the greater there will be incentives for an increase in production in the long-run, is being ignored by the United States War on Drugs (NACLA report on the americas, 1997). The coca supplies decrease every time they spray or burn down coca farms and plantations and therefore, there is more of an incentive for more poor farmers and civilians throughout Latin America to enter the illegal market (NACLA report on the americas, 1997). This leaves the actual market of Latin America in a worse state. If everyone continues to contribute to the illegal market because they have no other means and because there are such great incentives within the illegal market, it leaves little opportunity for there to be any contributions made to the market of Latin America.
*This video further demonstrates how the War on Drugs has affected the economy and Latin American civilians.
Most affected areas of the war on drugs (done by Regan):
Columbia and Peru are the two areas that have been most affected by the War on Drugs (Carpenter, 2003). Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador and Panama have also been largely affected, but to a lesser extent (Carpenter, 2003). With the increasing support for the Maoist Shining Path from the 1980s to the mid 1990s in Peru and the political chaos in Columbia, devastating problems have risen (Carpenter, 2003).
Columbia has struggled largely due to the Columbian government agreeing with the U.S.’ stance on extradition issues (taking the accused drug traffickers to trial in the United States) creating massive violent outbreaks (Carpenter, 2003). Up until the mid-1990s, thousands of innocent Columbians were killed because of the fighting that occurred between the drug lord
s, the government and the military forces (Carpenter, 2003). Bombing started to happen daily. In 1990, the new president made a deal with the drug traffickers that if they turned themselves in they would not be sent to the United States for trial (Carpenter, 2003). Instead, drug traffickers would remain in Columbia for trial. The violence finally settled down during the 1990s once the Medellin and Cali cartels had been defeated (Carpenter, 2003). However, soon enough the violence escalated again and continues today (Carpenter, 2003). Violence is not the only harmful factor affectingColumbia. In the government's attempt to banish all the drug crops, the Columbian jungles receive thousands of gallons of Roundup sprayed onto the fragile environment (Drug Policy Alliance Network, 2010). This led to the clearing out of over 1.75 million acres of the Amazon rainforest (Drug Policy Alliance Network, 2010). Experts believe that this drug war deforestation could lead Columbia into becoming another Ethiopia or Somalia within 50 years because the people will be populating faster than the soils will be able to produce food (Drug Policy Alliance Network, 2010). Furthermore, due to the United States' attempt to banish the drug crops through extradition, Columbia has been affected as the drug crops have been moved from Peru and Bolivia and are now located in Columbia. Therefore, Columbia coca cultivation has doubled (Corchado, 2009).
In Peru it is estimated that forty to fifty percent of Peruvian families are participating in the coca leaf production and distribution (Singer, 2008). With this heavy involvement in the participation of drugs in Peru, the U.S. has strived to climate these crops and therefore an increase of violence continues to occur (Singer, 2008). The U.S. has encouraged the country’s military forces to partake in the antidrug efforts. However, large problems have arisen within their own country due to this request by U.S. officials because it has allowed forces within Peru, who already hold authority over all the important resources, to obtain more power and control. These forces decrease the opportunity for democracy and promotion of human rights (Singer, 2008; Thoumi, 2003). Also, the country’s military wishes to perform other military activities such as fighting insurrections or foreign enemies, rather tha
n just focusing on the War on Drugs which creates a problem because goals may never be met if they are continuously picked up and dropped due to lack of interest and determination (Thoumi, 2003). Furthermore, the police do not value those fighting the anti drug efforts because they feel these forces are taking over their job, resulting in huge tensions and violent outbreaks between government agencies and among their own people (Thoumi, 2003).
Mexico has the most dramatic social crises in Latin America due to the prohibitionist policies (Drug Policy Alliance Network, 2010) Because of the War on Drugs, the most violent city in Mexico is Ciudad Juarez which has had more than 16 000 people killed within the city limits, due to conflicts over who will control the drug routes (Corchado, 2009).
In Bolivia today, the extreme military suppression of the coca production has created an astonishing high level of violence and is threatening its democracy (Corchado, 2009). During the late 1990’s and early 2000s, Bolivia had been the country which was the most responsive to the U.S. demands. President Hugo Banzer was really pressing to take drug-crop eradication measures and therefore coca production dropped from 250 tons to 70 tons, falling down to 43 tons by 2001 (Corchado, 2009). However, the people of Bolivia were opposed to this eradication and 10,000 people gathered in the center of the coca-growing region, demanding that the government stop destroying their crops (Corchado, 2009; Thoumi, 2003). In Bolivia today, the extreme military suppression of the coca production has created an astonishingly high level of violence and is threatening its democracy (Corchado, 2009). However, the recent election of Evo Morales could open a whole new chapter for Bolivia and will make a huge effort to push away from any U.S. intervention.
Conclusion (done by Adam):
The war on Drugs developed from a program with the simple focus of prohibiting certain kinds of harmful drugs. As so often the case in western culture this quickly became a global fight, the wars of which were being fought thousands of miles away and across oceans, hidden away from the public eye of the American citizen. The project became just another method for which the United States government could spread Pro America propaganda to the public, although recently most citizens have started to open their eyes and began to develop their own opinions. Although the efforts in Latin America did have their successes lowering hard drug use in the United States since its inception the pros just did not out way the cons the progress made was not substantial enough to continue the efforts, yet the fight goes on, but at what cost, the destruction of other countries’ economies and the loss of life, for a small almost unnoticeable difference. These poor countries economies rely so heavily on substances such as the Cocoa that you cannot destroy the drug without destroying and possibly crippling beyond all hope of repair the countries lively hood, also the destruction of the environment and the effect that anti drug efforts such as Spraying of chemicals have had are so detrimental to these delicate ecosystems and may possibly be unfixable. This is a perfect case where the ends do in no way justify the means; the progress this strategy made was just not substantial enough to give good reason for the destruction of economy, lively hood, lives and environment to name a few of the adverse affects the war on drugs brought to the Latin American countries. Changes need to be made to the policies of the War on Drugs to protect and bring attention to the plight the Americans have put these particular countries into.
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