This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to meet a Catholic priest who is traveling throughout the States, visiting congregations from different denominations, bringing a message of awareness, hope and challenge.
He talked about one of the big burdens on humanity nowadays, that is the problems that drug trafficking has posed to people throughout the world.
The problem of drugs, he said, is focused most of the time on the two ends of the chain; the producer and the addict. We seldom look at the interests that are behind the business itself and what major players may be involved.
If spraying the fields in other countries, like Colombia, has not eradicated planting of coca and poppies in order to produce cocaine and heroin, then there most be a reason for it.
Maybe we can explore what is needed to move the coca to a place of distribution in a way that can be consumed.
In order to process the plants many chemicals made in US are needed. Therefore there has to be the purchase and shipping of them to Latin America in order to make them available to those, who after collecting the leaves from the peasant growers, continue to make the pasta that is shipped abroad.
Because it is a dangerous business to ship and handle drugs, those who handle the distribution need the arms to intimidate those who dare go against them and also to create fear through violence and death at the places where they move.
The arms used both by the armies and traffickers in the Americas are bought in USA.
They are exported to anyone who wants to buy them and has the money to pay for them.
It is estimated that the grower gets about the 0.04% of the money from the business and the distributor gets between the 3 to 4%. The question is then who is getting most of the money and who gets to reinvest it. The next question is where is it reinvested?
If we go back to the original focus, then we have to assume that those being punished are the ones who do not have enough to cover their tracks, because the big investors continue to have the most
After 10 years of drug war in Colombia, where the cost in lives and the land fumigations has been tremendous, the production of drugs has not decreced. On the contrary it continues to be a juicy and prosperous business, while another big business, represented in the sale of arms and military training, escalates. Now, after the big drug cartels have ended in Colombia, Mexican cartels are on the rise. And of course now there are more big clients to serve in terms of arms and military training. So instead of a Plan Colombia, Mexicans will have the opportunity to be ‘aided’ by the Merida Plan.
At the same time the demand for drugs from the people who feel abandoned, hopeless and without a present and a future, continues to rise, requiring more and more drugs to mitigate their pain and despair.
Maybe it is time to look at the problem in a different way. Many are concerned by the way the wave of violence that has taken over Mexico, threatens to also become part of the US. How can we help to stop it? Is this something that should concern us?
A way to be thankful in this season could be to think of ‘Thanksgiving’ not as one day, but to keep extending the season throughout the year, looking for ways to better the situation for all, while we ask ourselves the hard questions and look for solutions.
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