The Narco News Bulletin
Name of Our Country is América"
A Narco News Global Alert
FOR TELLING TRUTH
Pulso magazine of Bolivia Reports that
funding for the Observatoire
Géopolitique Des Drogues was pulled after OGD revealed that 80% of drug
profits go to US and Euro Banks
is currently closed for lack of financing, difficult to obtain
because they realized such direct criticisms against governments
and established power structures."
Narco News Expresses
its Solidarity to OGD and Condemns Its Governmental Censors
Today We Publish
Interview with OGD expert Alain Labrousse
probably aren't large drug organizations in the United States
like the Calí Cartel, but the North American banks are
those that probably capture the major profits of the money from
Coca Crop is Moving to the Congo
Globalization of Cocaine Production, Caused by Eradication of
Crops in Colombia, Perú and Bolivia
Translated from Pulso Magazine, Bolivia
September 15, 2000
Coca Crop Moves to the Congo"
with Alain Labrousse
Marcelo Quezada, an entertaining
friend and reader of Pulso, was in Paris a few weeks ago. There
he conversed with Alain Labrousse, one of the best known French
intellectuals on the issue of drugs. At the center of the dialogue
was Labrousse's latest book, "Drugs: The Market of Deception,"in
which the author refers frequently to the Bolivian reality.
Marcelo Quezada (MQ): The
title of your recent book is "Drugs: The Market of Deception."
Who is being deceived and who is doing the deceiving?
Alain Labrousse (AL): I want to demonstrate that there
are two principal victims in drug commerce: first, the consumers,
of course, that is the people who pay for the expensive drugs
in the street and poison themselves beliving that this is going
to offer them a way out of their situation, and also the producers,
who are obligated to cultivate the plant from which drugs are
extracted, for which they receive a minimum price in relation
to the dose that is sold on the street.
In the book we show that
the multiplication between the price paid to the producer for
the raw material and the price paid by the consumer is not 100
percent as has been said, but rather between 1,000 percent and
up to 2,500 percent.
The other deception shown
in the book is that the great occidental powers that today are
leaders in the fight against drugs were the first to put the
drugs in the Third World. The case of opium is very well known.
The Chinese waged two wars to refuse to receive the opium from
England and France. The same is true with Coca. When there was
a boom in cocaine early in the last century, the Dutch cultivated
coca in Java, that became the number one global producer of the
Another example is Indochina,
where France prohibited the use of opium among whites but tolerated
it among the indigenous and with this commerce financed the colonization.
In this way the great powers were, historically, the guilty parties
for why the drugs have been distributed in the world.
MQ: In a radio interview I heard that you denounced
the hypocrisy of the occidental governments of today with respect
to the drug issue, that is to say, their political complicity
with this business.
AL: In effect, there is a series of geopolitical factors
that act upon this matter. For example, in the 1990s, Pakistan
was one of the principal providers of heroin to Europe, but France
did nothing about it, because it was enthusiastic to sell 40
Mirage airplanes to Pakistan. The same thing happen with Morocco.
There, the government protects 90,000 hectares of cannabis, but
because it is an ally of the east, they look the other way.
I speak of Europe because
I am European, but the same can be said for the United States.
It's a fact that Menem of Argentina, for example, his government
was surrounded by drug trafficking scandals, but because he was
privatizing everything, the United States preferred to remain
silent. When there are economic interests at stake, governments
involved in drug trafficking have nothing to fear.
MQ: What do you think of the so-called alternative
development for the substitution of crops?
AL: I know the example of Morocco very well and this
it is very revealing. There are 90,000 hectares of cannabis there,
that provide work for 200,000 families, that is to say, almost
a million people, and a zone that is agriculturally weak, with
eroded soils and on the mountain. In order to make serious alternative
development, millions of dollars would have to be invested there
for at least a decade. I have studied these type of substitution
projects and know how they work in France. In general, they are
isolated efforts and the funders also compete between themselves.
Each one invests a little bit here, a bridge there, a factory
over there, but there is never a global project of great impact.
On the other hand, for example, in Guyana, we thought that the
case would be that there was an alternative, but later we realized
that in reality it was being undersold by cannabis, that was
the alternative to the alternative crop. If we add to that that
the European Union still continues accepting that five percent
of its chocolates contain artificial cocoa, that is, an extract
of oils of other plants, we see that these kinds of means are
the best incentive to propagate illicit crops.
Then the most important
thing is not alternative development, but rather the need to
change global commerce. With globalization there is little to
hope for, maybe they can substitute some plants for others, but
they will not substitute the illicit economy.
MQ: It is often said that the Colombian guerrillas
are interested in expanding to other countries, including that
the narco-guerrilla with Colombian support could surge in the
Chapare region of Bolivia. Do you think the FARC is making those
AL: No, the FARC are a movement very focused on internal
politics and I don't think they want to export the guerrilla
anywhere. It's not a focal-movement, not at all, its practices
are based in the Colombian farm regions and not in other populations.
Right now, well, it is possible that for military reasons at
times they will see the necessity to cross into Venezuela, to
Panamá, to Perú, but not to form new groups there,
but rather for logistics.
MQ: It's also said that the eradication of coca in
Bolivia could force the transfer of its production into Brazil,
where a coca with more alkaloid could be produced.
AL: In Brazil, the coca is a traditional leaf for
certain tribes and in effect it is a coca adapted to the Amazon
region, that is called lebadu. It's a large tree, very high,
and its weakness is that it does not contain a high alkaloid
content. There are not clear signs that coca would be cultivated
massively in Brazil.
However, in Africa, yes,
there are indications of this. The first attempts were in the
Congo, where Lebanese groups involved in drug trafficking are
beginning with some coca plantations. This doesn't surprise me,
because it coca is already cultivated in Camaroon for the German
and Dutch chemical industries. The same is done in Taiwan and
Java. In all cases, if the coca is suddenly eradicated in Latin
America, and the global consumption of cocaine stays the same,
the producers will find the ways continue supplying the market.
The same in another sense, once a half ton of opium in Perú
was seized. That could be the alternative crop for the coca.
MQ: The other day, the writer Carlos Fuentes said that
for each dollar earned in the business of drugs, two thirds stays
in the banks of United States. Is that so?
AL: Absolutely. There probably aren't large drug organizations
in the United States like the Calí Cartel, but the North
American banks are those that probably capture the major profits
of the money from trafficking. It's always been said that in
Florida there is an overflow of dollars that doesn't correspond
to the real dimensions of its economy. Thus, I would say that
80 percent of the profits from drug trafficking ends up in the
banks of the wealthy countries or their branches in underdeveloped
countries where there is weaker legal control. It is calculated
that in Colombia, in the era when the cartels were not as persecuted,
up to four billion dollars returned to the Colombian economy.
MQ: Another of the arguments for eradicating illicit
plantations is that the consumption of drugs begins to expand
inside the producer countries of the raw material. Is that the
AL: I don't believe there is a direct relationship
between the production of drugs and the increase in domestic
consumption. For example, in Latin America, the largest consumers
of drugs are Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and none of them produce
the raw materials. Then what is observed is the impact of the
consumption is greater in the transport countries and not in
the producing countries.
It can also be said that
in some places the rise in consumption is owed to the very same
alternative development and eradication. In the case of the ethnic
minorities of Northern Thailand, were 200 years ago tons of opium
were produced for traditional consumption, then they eradicated
the crops and a little while afterward is was discovered that
the people then began to consume heroin, because there was no
more opium. A true epidemic, because heroin is injected and AIDS
began to be a public health problem.
The same thing happened
with the Talibans. They had the tradition of smoking hashish,
which is known for its strong odor. But as hashish began to be
repressed, they moved on to opium that has a lighter scent and
can pass unnoticed. Thus, the repression of one drug produces
the proliferation of another.
Life in Prose
Alain Labrousse was born
in 1937. He studied in the Literature School of the University
of Burdeos. Later he was titular professor in the French Liceo
of Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1965. In 1970 he began to lead from
Paris the Committee for Solidarity with the fight of the Uruguayan
people. At the beginning of the democratic opening in Bolivia,
he made a series of audiovisual reports about the hunger strike
of the women miners in 1978.
During 1977 and 1979 he
traveled in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Perú and Bolivia
making similar reports. At the same time he wrote for the newspaper
Le Monde Diplomatique.
In the beginning of the
1990s, he founded with other investigators "The Geopolitical
Drug Dispatch," from where punctual and systematic information
on the theme was emitted. The group came to have correspondents
in more than 60 countries throughout the world and produced annual
reports that were reference documents worldwide.
That organization is currently
closed for lack of financing, difficult to obtain because they
realized such direct criticisms against governments and established
His last book, "Drugs:
The Market of Deception" is a documented accusation about
the hypocrisy of the industrialized world that penalizes the
traditional cultivation of coca, poppy or cannabis while it patronizes
pro-Occidental governments that live off this business such as
Turkey, Morocco, Thailand or Pakistan.
His most important works
include: "The Tupamaros and the Urban Guerrilla in Uruguay"
(1971), "The Chilean Experience: Reform or Revolution"
(1972), "Argentina, Revolution and Counter-Revolution"
(1975), "Over the Paths of the Andes to Reencounter the
Indian World" (1983) and "The Indian Awakening in Latin
is your war. This is your war on drugs. Any questions?