The global war on drugs is no longer just fought in Colombia. The violence has spread to Mexico and West Africa and according to local media, the mafia is taking an increasing control of coca production in Bolivia and Perú. The authorities of drugs consuming countries need a radical change of policy.
Bolivia’s daily La Razón had an interesting feature on cocaine production in the country, last weekend. La Razón interviews ‘Julio’, a Bolivian drugs trafficker in jail, who has connections with Colombian traffickers. The Colombians go to Bolivia in order to look for high quality cocaine, ‘Julio’ says. They make sure their business will turn out well. ‘Julio’s’ wife or his daughter are the guarantee. If something turns out badly “they hit you where it hurts most”, he tells La Razón.
The cocaine is picked up by heavily armed men in small planes and brought to a foreign country. From there it is transported to the United States and Europe, according to ‘Julio’.
Bolivian authorities told that the situation isn’t so bad yet and only ‘mid level’ gangs operate in the country, but if ‘Julio’ tells the truth there is a lot to worry about.
La Razón explains how Colombians train the Bolivians in production of cocaine. They teach them a quicker production process and they teach them how to use mobile laboratories. At the end they come and get the cocaine.
But not only Colombian drug traffickers go to Bolivia, also traffickers from Brazil and Mexico arrive at the country.
In Colombia the police relentlessly is chasing the mafias. Frequently it catches tons of cocaine in a port in the Pacific or the Caribbean. Perhaps that is the reason why the routes are dispersing. Bolivia is an upcoming country, and Perú as well, as the country’s daily El Comercio published last Monday. Even in small Ecuador press publications on the seizing of drugs are becoming more frequent.
What to do? Perhaps go back to Hillary Clinton‘s statement that the United States are responsible for Mexico’s drugs war. But that of course is not all. All the big cocaine consuming areas, among which especially the United States and Europe, should take their responsibility for what is happening in the so called production (and trafficking) countries. They should increase their efforts to catch the gangs which are operating in their own countries.
The U.S. and E.U. should not only worry about Mexico and Colombia, but also about Bolivia, Perú and Western Africa, which has become important for the drugs for Europe and has increasingly become affected by drugs related violence.
This column was published in Colombia Reports.