History Of The Drug Transportation Controversy In The United States And Latin America
Drugs, and the transportation of, have always been a controversial issue for Latin America and the United States. Over the years, the United States has made many attempts to combat drugs, for example, military force to combat drugs with institution building. This did very little to eradicate the drugs being transferred between Latin America and the United States. While these attempts on drug eradication continued to fail, the cartels continued to grow in power, bringing fear and control over the decisions of the government.
Latin America viewed the United States’ drug policies as unsuccessful and that their attempts failed to bring any success to the situation. Over the span of ten to fifteen years, “The United States had not proved to be a consistent or generous ally in the war effort.” (Walker, p. 208) Hope began within the Latin Americans in the 1980’s when George Bush developed a policy that had a different approach than that of Reagan’s approach. In Raegan’s approach, it was a hard military style that had a serious flow; it “overemphasized military action and interdiction while dedicating far too little time, energy, and resources to the development of a long-term policy to deal with the Andean cocaine trade.” (Walker, p.209)
Sadly, it became quickly evident that Bush’s policy wasn’t so different than Reagan’s. Bush also turned to the military by sending aid to the countries, aid packages filled with military equipment. Columbia had specifically asked for financial aid to help combat drugs. Bush then authorized a $65,000,000 emergency aid package, filled with military equipment. While this was definitely an improvement from the $20,000,000 aid package that Reagan authorized for Columbia, the Columbians still felt it wasn’t enough. They were currently battling a multibillion dollar drug industry. (Walker, p.208) They wanted the proper financial support needed in order to combat the drug war in their country.
Hope was once again placed in the United States’ government, when President Bill Clinton took office. The realization was made that drugs would always be a problem and that the United States should focus on, “eradicating drug-yielding crops in producing countries and discourage Americans from using drugs.” (Walker, p. 215) Military force was currently, not the answer to halting the production of drugs. The Clinton Administration developed a program that would emphasize institution building, make transportation difficult, and once again, eradication. The plan for institution building was to strengthen the Latin American legal systems and push them to crack down and make arrests of the drug traffickers, while also making it hard for the traffickers to move the drugs. Clinton’s plan sounded great but was merely a repeat of a failed tactic that was attempted in previous years.
Due to the fact that money equals power and the large amounts of money taken in, drugs had a large impact on Latin America, as well as control. A good example of greed and tunnel vision of bankers, is Operation Polar Cap. Operation Polar Cap, laundered $1.2 billion dollars and was the “largest single money laundering operation ever broken up by the United States government.” (Walker, p. 218) This money was from the Colombian cartel and only took two years. The American people are what kept this operation going by their “explosive cocaine use.” (Walker, p.218) Large US banks were a part of this operation and many failed to report the suspected drug activity. Many would overlook the issue because reporting it would affect their cocaine supply, as many of them were weekend users. After realizing what was going on after two years, it still took the United States two months to make a plan to stop it.
Fear increased throughout Columbia as a war began between their government and the cartels. This war began with the assassination of Presidential Candidate Galan and proved that fear and terror was pushed onto the Columbians by the drug issue. Galan was killed by a cartel and several people lost their lives after the assassination. Although Columbians feared for their lives, they were pushed to support the fight against drugs in hopes of a safer Columbia.
In closing, there will always be a battle over drugs. Until corruption stops, drug traffickers will continue to get away with selling and transporting drugs. As long as there is a demand for drugs, there will be a supply. Even if every drug trafficker were arrested and incarcerated, there will always be another person waiting and willing to step up and make money. The perfect solution would be no corruption, no demand, no supply and the best policy to achieve such. The United States and Latin American countries can only continue to work together in hopes of the perfect solution but never really achieving it.
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