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Caribbean Drug Trafficking and the Western Hemisphere

Caribbean Drug Trafficking and the Western Hemisphere

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Published by A.J. MacDonald, Jr.
The international drug trafficking syndicates that are operating today are more powerful and sophisticated than most any criminal enterprise our nations have previously faced.  They are well-organized, influential and extremely savvy - relying on a worldwide network of personnel, technological assets and financial resources that handsomely rival those held by international businesses.
 
Traffickers are highly mobile and basically unrestricted by national boundaries.  They often shift their laboratories and trade routes virtually at will, preferring to go where national governments are least in control.  When the Colombian government cracked down on its drug operators, they took up temporary residence in Bolivia, Miami, Panama or Peru and directed their operations from there.
The international drug trafficking syndicates that are operating today are more powerful and sophisticated than most any criminal enterprise our nations have previously faced.  They are well-organized, influential and extremely savvy - relying on a worldwide network of personnel, technological assets and financial resources that handsomely rival those held by international businesses.
 
Traffickers are highly mobile and basically unrestricted by national boundaries.  They often shift their laboratories and trade routes virtually at will, preferring to go where national governments are least in control.  When the Colombian government cracked down on its drug operators, they took up temporary residence in Bolivia, Miami, Panama or Peru and directed their operations from there.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: A.J. MacDonald, Jr. on Nov 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/05/2013

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COLEGIO INTERAMERICANO DE DEFENSA
Fuerte Lesley J. McNairWashington D.C.
 
TRABAJO DE INVESTIGACION ACADEMICA
 
CARIBBEAN DRUG TRAFFICKINGAND THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
 
by
 
LtCol J. Brooke TaylorUnited States Air Force
 
Washington D.C., May 2000
 
 
 
CHAPTER 1 OVERVIEW
 The Caribbean lies where Jose Marti once called “the Vortex of the Americas,” making it a bridge or front between North and SouthAmerica. Geonarcotics is a concept developed that explains the multipledynamics of the narcotics phenomenon. The term captures four factors:drugs, geography, power, and politics. Geography is a factor because of the global spatial dispersion of drug operations, and because certain geographic features facilitatecertain drug operations. Power involves the ability of an individual or group to secure compliant action. This power can be both state andnonstate in source. Politics revolve around the resource allocation. Although the Caribbean drug phenomenon involves many facetsof drug production, consumption and abuse, trafficking, and moneylaundering, it is trafficking that best highlights the region’s strategicvalue. Aspects of both the Caribbean’s physical and social geographymake it very conducive to drug trafficking. Except for mainland Belize,French Guyana, Guyana, and Suriname, the Caribbean countries are allisland territories. Some are plural island territories, such as St Vincentand the Grenadines - which comprise close to 600 islands, and the VirginIslands - composed of about 100 islands and cays. The Bahamas is anarchipelago of 700 islands and 2,000 cays. This island character permitsentry into and use of Caribbean territories from hundreds of multiple
 
 places in the surrounding sea. The Caribbean countries do not have theability to provide adequate territorial policing and security, thus producing an extreme vulnerability to trafficking. (2) The most important location feature of the region’s physicalgeography is its proximity. This proximity is dual: South America as amajor drug-supply source, and North America as a major drug-demandarea. Illicit drugs typically move internationally from less developedareas of the world to the more developed countries, where most drugconsumption takes place. Just as the growth of legitimate global businesses has been facilitated by the globalization of financial systemsand market relations, drug traffickers have additionally taken advantageof the opportunities presented by the changing macro-economicenvironment. They have organized themselves on a global scale and puta significant amount of their drug profits in financial centers offeringsecrecy and attractive investment returns. Their adoption of high-techcomputer and communication technology has facilitated expansion of their trade. Drug traffickers are now able to launder illicit profits bymoving money around the world electronically with nominal nationalcontrols. They are aided by porous borders, due in part to policiesintended to encourage trade and investment. In other cases, it is due toweak governments and weak or unenforceable laws against moneylaundering, fraud or organized crime.The trade of illicit drugs has quite a variety of adverse socio-economic and political effects. These activities can occasionallyundermine the legal economy by contributing to an overvalued exchangerate. They contribute to increased crime and social disruption on alllevels, and their adverse effects can be intensified by drug control laws.Most of the benefits and liabilities associated with the trade of drugsultimately derives from illegality, a condition which the drug controllaws establish. Illegality provides what has been called the “crime tax” -the difference between legal and illegal price markets. This “tax” isreaped principally by traffickers, but they pass on a sufficient proportion

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