Saturday, August 19, 2006

Stay the Course of Course of Course

Colombia's Coca Survives U.S. Plan to Uproot It - New York Times

Drug warriors claim successes like price spikes, cultivators on the run, that guerrillas and paramilitaries running the trade are weaker and Colombia is more stable.
Yet recent data show the following results:

- As much coca is cultivated today in Colombia as was grown at the start of the large-scale aerial fumigation effort in 2000, according to State Department figures.

- Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, the leading sources of coca and cocaine, produce more than enough cocaine to satisfy world demand, and possibly as much as in the mid-1990's, the United Nations says.

- In the United States, the government's tracking over the past quarter century shows that the price of cocaine has tumbled and that purity remains high, signs that the drug is as available as ever.
While McDonald's, NBC and the DEA propagandize in Chicago,
Even the most optimistic [drug policy analysts] see the drug war as just about holding the line.
But by any estimate, the amount of cocaine produced vastly exceeds demand, so much so that even headline-grabbing seizures do not cut deeply enough into the supply to affect price or availability. That has been the case for years.
The UN seem to be even bigger bullshitters than the US:
Not all the news is bad. The latest United Nations estimates, released in June, show a 28 percent decline in the coca crop for the three Andean countries since Plan Colombia began.
State Department figures are far gloomier than those of the United Nations, a disparity attributed to different satellite measurements and a broader survey done last year by the United States that covered 81 percent more area in Colombia and found still more coca.

After swift declines in the late 1990's, the figures show, coca plantings in Peru and Bolivia are actually on the rise. Total acreage in the Andes is now higher than in 2000, and covers as much ground as it did in 1997, the equivalent of half of Delaware.
The stupidest goddamn thing is how they credit fumigation with reducing violence by beefing up security in many towns. Gee, I wonder what would have happened if they'd beefed up security in many towns without fumigating?

The United Nations sees the data as distressing, illustrating the need to add a state presence in lawless coca-growing regions while providing lasting alternatives to poor farmers, something Plan Colombia devotes far less money to.
What kind of alternative are they going to provide the poor farmers? This makes me want to scream. There is no better alternative from the farmer's point of view, and the only reason this is so is prohibition.

As things are, we're accomplishing nothing except to piss off the people. Stupid stupid stupid.

I am a conscientious objector in the War on Some Drugs.


jj mollo said...

So everybody with any sense knows that the War on Drugs is a bust, counterproductive at best, diabolically destructive more likely. Why then does it continue. People don't like to talk about it. Who supports it? How can politicians cloak themselves in the anti-drug flag when nobody believes it. Have you ever talked to anyone who could give a good reason for continuing these laws? What was it we were supposed to have learned by 1933.

Steve said...

Thinking of prohibition as an industry provides me some explanation for why it goes on. This industry is like others that want to survive, prosper, grow. It's like other industries that lobby for their interests and benefit from the lobbying of others whose interests are aligned. Like some other industries, the prohibition industry hires PR shills to muddle the obvious and use the issue as a tool of manipulation.

As for people I encounter who think it should go on, the most memorable was a teacher whose anger would not let me pass the point of "oh, the children".