Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World
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An in-depth, narrative study of the cocaine industry—from the fields of Colombia to the streets of New York—as it has never been told before.
Cocaine is big business and getting bigger. Governments spend millions on a losing war against it, yet it's still the drug of choice in the West. How did the cocaine economy become so massive? Who keeps it running behind the scenes?
In Cocaine Nation, Tom Feiling travels the trade routes from Colombia via Miami, Kingston and Tijuana to London and New york. he meets Medellin hitmen, U.S. kingpins, Brazilian traffickers, and talks to soldiers and narcotics officers who fight the gangs and cartels. He traces cocaine's progress from legal 'pick-me-up' to luxury product to global commodity, looks at legalization programs in countries such as Switzerland, and shows how America's anti-drugs crusade is actually increasing demand. Cutting through the myths about the white trade, this is the story of cocaine as it's never been told before.
entirely. The market for escape is partially fed by our notions of success, many of which are as prohibitive and exclusive as our favourite goods. Those deemed unsuccessful will always be tempted to alight on drug-taking as a pursuit (in the original sense of the word, as a flight from reality). Many of them will use drugs as part of a compulsive quest for some imagined state of grace; and some will use them in greater quantities as they realize the ultimate futility of the quest. I asked Ted
liberalization. Rusty, the former narcotics officer with the Department of Corrections in Arizona, insisted that legalization would bring more, not less, control over drug consumption. ‘When I talk about legalizing drugs, people say “you can’t mean heroin and crack, right?” But after thirty years of the drug war, spending a trillion dollars and locking up 1.6 million people a year, the bad guys still control the price, purity and quantity of every drug. Knowing that they control the drugs trade,
2001, but has never looked into the economic impact of the drugs trade, the links between the legal and illegal sectors or the best way to treat drug consumption. 36. Salazar, Drogas y Narcotráfico en Colombia, pp. 44–8. 37. According to Salomon Kalmanowitz, cited in ibid., pp. 81–2. 38. Ricardo Rocha Garcia, La Economia Colombiana Tras 25 Anos de Narcotrafico (Bogotá: Siglo del Hombre Editores, 2000), p. 18. 39. International Crisis Group, ‘Guerra y Droga en Colombia’, p. 30. 40. UN World
generated the same violence and corruption seen in Nuevo Laredo today. Ciudad Juárez is still a dangerous city, but nothing like it was when control of the drugs trade was being disputed. Violence is also the product of personal vendettas between traffickers, who strike at each other’s organizations to avenge the murders of family members or close associates. Once these reprisals get underway, they can quickly spiral out of control. The fight between the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels is a good
argued that it was not the Church’s responsibility to investigate the source of donations. ‘Just because the origin of the money is bad doesn’t mean you have to burn it,’ the bishop said. ‘Instead, you have to transform it.’ He insists that the money was ‘purified’ once it passed through the doors of his church.18 In considering how best to tackle the cocaine trade, Bush and Calderón neglected to address the fundamental corruptibility of Mexico’s institutions of state. They would have done well