HomeNewsBriefUS War on Drugs Was… Wrong?
BRIEF

US War on Drugs Was… Wrong?

DRUG POLICY / 8 APR 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

“We were wrong,” admitted William Brownfiled, according to La Jornada, in reference to the U.S. approach on the so-called “war on drugs.” Brownfield, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, also acknowledged that the U.S. approach had to be less focused on law enforcement and jailing drug traffickers. “In 1979 we evaluated the drug use and trafficking question as a problem that was easily resolved with an aggressive campaign and huge effort,” he said. “Thirty-two years have passed, and after billions of dollars and many strategies I can say we were wrong…” These declarations came during the 28th International Drug Enforcement Conference in Cancun, where representatives from over 100 countries (including a delegation from the Drug Enforcement Administration) are meeting until Friday. Brownfield maintained the usual U.S. prohibitionist stance on legalizing drugs, while advising drug consumer countries to try and reduce consumption levels. CM& of Colombia reported that Brownfield also declared that the Taliban and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colomba – FARC) are the two biggest drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) whose current political ideology is indistinguishable from the drug trade. These estimates are usually highly variable, but given that Mexican groups like the Sinaloa Cartel are controlling the U.S. delivery networks, InSight considers the Mexican DTOs are likely raking in bigger revenues than the FARC.

    • Also during the aforementioned Drug Enforcement Conference, Mexico’s Secretary of Security, Genaro Garcia Luna, released some estimates on how much money the Mexican DTOs are making:. some $320 billion dollars per year. Only part of this revenue goes to Colombian DTOs since the wholesale price of cocaine is multiplied exponentially from its manufacturing in Colombia and the sales made on the streets of major U.S. cities, according to the UNODC World Drug Report
    • An editorial in the Belize Times also has some dark predictions about rising violence in the Central American nation, which borders Guatemala. Belize registered a record number of murders last year and 33 homicides so far in 2011, big numbers for one of the most sparsely populated countries in the region. The editorial goes on to make some routine critiques of the causes of violence, mentioning briefly the rising number of gangs in Belize, but does not explore the possibility that the rising violence may be connected to micro-trafficking or the international drug trade. Earlier this year, Belize’s ambassador to Guatemala said the military may begin patrolling the border in order to combat “spillover” drug violence.
    • O Globo’s crime page has published excerpts of a letter allegedly written by the gunman who opened fire in an elementary school in Rio de Janerio. At least 11 students were killed and another 13 wounded; the gunman committed suicide after police arrived on the scene. The killing is already being compared to similar types of school shootings previously seen more frequently in the U.S. or Europe. The alleged letter requests that the gunman’s home be donated and used as an animal shelter, apparently showing that the attack was premeditated. 
    Compartir icon icon icon

    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

    COLOMBIA / 14 JUN 2011

    The 40th anniversary of Washington's war on drugs has sparked calls for the decriminalization of narcotics, but what may seem…

    BOLIVIA / 5 APR 2013

    The United States has donated 12 aircraft to the Bolivian Air Force for use in counternarcotics operations, indicating that despite…

    BRAZIL / 25 AUG 2015

    Brazil's Supreme Court has begun discussing the potential decriminalization of personal drug use, in a landmark case that could do…

    About InSight Crime

    THE ORGANIZATION

    We Have Updated Our Website

    4 FEB 2021

    Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

    THE ORGANIZATION

    InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

    ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

    Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

    BRIEF

    InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

    COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

    The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

    ANALYSIS

    InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

    COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

    This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

    ANALYSIS

    InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

    FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

    In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…