One of my preferred South-American blogs is Argentinian Blogbis (in Spanish) because of their innate irony and realistic approach. I really read it nearly everyday.
So yesterday I found this:
Today was released a report from the State Department that assures that the Bolivarian Venezuela has been transformed into the main country for the transport of drugs to Western countries, and adds that the main cause for this is that there is a “frail justice” and a “corrupt atmosphere”.
Bolivia, at the same time, confirms its position as 3rd world producer of cocaine, raising its production, as they have lowered the goals of elimination of producer fields.
Even if you do not believe the State Department, UN decentralised body International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), has released its annual report (English, Español), in which they state their worries about Bolivian intention to raise the “legal” production of coca and confirms the Venezuelan role as the distributor and logistical expert.
And guess what?:
In Colombia, despite eradication efforts, the total area under illicit coca bush cultivation in 2005 increased by 6,000 hectares to 86,000 hectares. That represents a decline of 47 per cent compared with the peak annual estimate of 163,300 hectares in 2000. Illicit coca bush cultivation in Colombia spread rapidly to areas where it had not been detected before. The most significant increase was noted in two areas bordering Ecuador and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of). A total of 170,070 hectares of coca bush were eradicated in Colombia in 2005, mainly through aerial spraying. The intensive eradication efforts in Colombia continued also in 2006. By mid-September 2006, 150,600 hectares of illicitly cultivated coca bush had been eradicated in that country.
Now search for Venezuela and:
In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, following the use of a satellite monitoring system for the detection of illicit crop cultivation, 80 hectares of coca bush were eradicated at the country’s northwestern border with Colombia during Operation Sierra, conducted in November 2005.
Yes, I know, Colombia has huge drug plantation but Venezuela only has 80 hectares?
But let get on with it:
According to the European Police Office (Europol), every year almost 250 tons of cocaine enter the European Union, the second largest market for cocaine after the United States. Most of the cocaine is transported by sea from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Suriname and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) to the main European seaports. Sizeable amounts of cocaine are also smuggled into Europe by air courier.
[…] 407. In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the total volume of cocaine seizures increased in 2005 by 87 per cent, to 58.4 tons; a further 23 tons of cocaine were seized in the first nine months of 2006. Most of the intercepted cocaine shipments were destined for Spain and the United Kingdom.
Heroin seizures have been reported in recent years in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of). The most significant increase in the volume of heroin seizures has been recorded in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: in that country, heroin seizures rose steadily from 196 kg in 2000 to a record 658 kg in 2004.
What they are not saying is an estimated number of the drug that actually they could not seize. Normally, for what I know -I am not an expert ;)-, if the captures rise so severely is not only because police is more effective, but just because there is much more drug quantity passing through.
The cocaine smuggled into the United States is derived from coca produced mainly in Colombia but also in Bolivia and Peru. Mexico continues to be used as the principal trans-shipment country for cocaine entering the United States. Cocaine abuse is increasing in Mexico.
So this morning I was searching on the Internet and I discover this (HT Castro Death Watch):
Venezuela does not plan to sign an anti-drug accord with the United States, local media quoted Venezuela’s top anti-drug official as saying on Saturday, days after Washington criticized Caracas for failing to crack down on drug traffickers.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a close ally of Cuba who has promised to fight U.S. “imperialism,” cut off cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005, accusing the group of spying on him.
The South American nation had promised to renew the accord on different terms but repeatedly postponed signing it.
What timing, eh? Venezuela is considered the logistic center for drug distribution and about the same time they declare they are not interested in signing an anti-drug agreement… Curious, isn’t it?
Continuing with the report. About Bolivia:
The situation in Bolivia, which for many years has not been in conformity with that State’s obligations under the international drug control treaties, continues to be a matter of particular concern to the Board. Bolivia is a major producer of coca leaf, and national legislation allows the cultivation of coca bush and the consumption of coca leaf for non-medical purposes, which are not in line with the provisions of the 1961 Convention.
172. In addition, some of the coca leaf produced in accordance with national legislation in Bolivia is diverted and used for the illicit manufacture of cocaine. There is also information indicating increase in the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride in recent years, as well as an increase in trafficking in precursor chemicals used in cocaine manufacture.
173. The Government of Bolivia has indicated its intention to review existing national drug control legislation, with a view to using coca leaf for a wide range of products, some of which might be exported. The Board has followed closely the developments in Bolivia and has communicated to the Government its concern that some of the measures that the Government is about to take are not in line with the provisions of the international drug control treaties, particularly the 1961 Convention. The Board is also concerned that policy developments in Bolivia could have repercussions in other countries in South America.
Attention, Spanish colleagues:
African countries are being targeted for transshipment of cocaine. The smuggling of cocaine from South America into Europe through Africa continues unabated, with countries in Western and Central Africa being used as transit and storage areas for cocaine destined for Europe. Cocaine is trafficked from South America in large shipments along maritime routes leading predominantly to the countries surrounding the Gulf of Guinea, where it is re-packaged and smuggled by air by couriers into Europe or dispatched via parcel post. The most affected countries are Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Togo, while Ghana is serving as a major trans-shipment area and logistics base. Increasingly, Guinea-Bissau is being used by criminal groups from Latin America for the trans-shipment of cocaine. In September 2006, police in Guinea-Bissau seized 674 kg of cocaine and arrested two suspected smugglers, together with arms and radio and other equipment. Senegal has also become a transit country. Another matter of concern is that criminal organizations from South America involved in cocaine trafficking are reportedly linking with criminal groups involved in cannabis trafficking in Morocco and Spain.
Does it have something to do with the huge illegal immigration Spain had last year, especially from Senegal? In the report it is said that they are not only using the ships to transport the drugs but also people. I am not saying this is the only cause, though. But are drug mafias using this poor immigrants to transport the drugs and help them to pay for the trip in the cayuco?
Also: relationship of Turkey, Russian Federation, Afghanistan and Iran in world production and distribution of heroin:
Most of the heroin found in Europe comes from Afghanistan. According to the World Drug Report 2006, in Europe seizures of opiates rose by 49 per cent in 2004 to 29 tons, the highest figure ever recorded. The increase in seizures of opiates in Europe was mainly attributable to the fact that such seizures doubled in South-Eastern Europe, especially in Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. Record seizures of opiates were also made in the Russian Federation. Most of the heroin continues to be smuggled in trucks. The heroin on the illicit market in Europe is mainly smuggled from Turkey along the Balkan route, via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. In addition, a southern branch of the Balkan route has developed: heroin and other opiates from Turkey are smuggled via Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia into Albania, Italy, Austria and Germany. There have been reports of shipments of opiates from Afghanistan to the Islamic Republic of Iran being smuggled through the Caucasus into Ukraine and then into Romania before reaching their final destinations in Western Europe. The northern route through Central Asia is increasingly being used to transport heroin to other major illicit markets for heroin, such as the Russian Federation and countries in Eastern Europe. A new route for smuggling heroin from East Asia into the United Kingdom was recently uncovered, resulting in the interception of heroin consignments at ports in the United Kingdom.
Has someone from the Euroweenies (he, he, I love this term) reflected about the enlargement of EU, the freedom of circulation of goods and people and the easier it is to transport this kind of goods? No control of frontiers, huge number of illegal immigrants of whom we do not know even their real names, no real cohesion… and lots of mafias controlling huge profitable and illicit products…
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