HomeNewsAnalysisCuba Releases 2010 'Drug War' Statistics
ANALYSIS

Cuba Releases 2010 'Drug War' Statistics

CARIBBEAN / 16 FEB 2011 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Cuban police seized 3,023 kilos of narcotics last year, 70 percent of which was marijuana, according to a report by Granma, the Communist Party newspaper. The government potrays itself as maintaining a tough stance towards its domestic drug trade, but thanks to geography Cuba remains a key transition country for international drug shipments.

According to Granma, in 2010 police sighted 38 go-fast boats loaded with narcotics, while 22 people were detained for transporting drugs by air. The numbers are only a slight variation from those reported in 2009, when the government reportedly seized 3,186 kilograms of narcotics and sighted 34 suspect vessels.

Tellingly, about 73 percent of the narcotics seized in 2010 were found washed up on Cuba's 5,746 kilometer coastline. International drug trafficking organizations are not known to have an established presence on the island, so one of the main sources for the domestic markets are these parcels of marijuana and cocaine, washed up on the beaches. The Cuban Border Guard, an estimated 5,000 man force, is responsible for patrolling the coastline, collecting and then burning these wash-ups.

Just 90 miles from Miami and counting nearly 4,195 smaller islands within its martime territory, Cuba is a natural stopover for smugglers, esepcially go-fast vessels from Jamaica who may travel through Cuba's waters in efforts to avoid the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2009, officials reported securing a Jamaica aircraft carrying 465 kilograms of marijuana; last year officials also reported detaining at least one go-fast vessel traveling from Jamaica to the Bahamas. Jamaica is believed to frequently traffic marijuana through Cuban waters and airspace, and Cuban authorities have allegedly expressed frustration with the country's lack of cooperation in combating the illicit trafficking.

As for Cuban complacency in drug-trafficking, little information is freely avaliable. Crime is almost never reported in state-backed media like Granma, so little is known about cases involving police or military misconduct in drug trafficking. The Cuban security forces responsible for drug interdictings include the Cuban Border Guard, the Navy, and Air Force, but are thought to be ill-equipped by the U.S. State Department, limiting their ability to carry out actual interdictions.

According to the U.S. State Department, Cuba has indicated that international drug trafficking organizations are beginning to show interest in co-opting the domestic drug market in Cuba, instead of just using the island as a transit country. Marijuana and cocaine are not freely avaliable in Cuba and are believed to fetch high prices, representing a very lucrative market that traffickers could potentially tap into. The growth of Cuba's tourist industry could also feed an increase in the domestic drug trade.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 9 JUL 2021

Two days on from the nighttime assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince, competing theories have failed to provide…

BRAZIL / 8 NOV 2022

As gold prices have skyrocketed, a boom in mining across the Amazon Basin has flourished, leaving a deep environmental footprint.

CARIBBEAN / 13 OCT 2022

Two gangs have coordinated an amphibious attack on a key industrial area north of Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…