HomeNewsBriefUS War on Drugs Was... Wrong?
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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. 
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