The difference between governments and drug cartels
Every year the UNODC and the U.S. State Department show us with their data that the global production and trafficking of cocaine is steadily decreasing. That would sound encouraging, if it was true.
Year after year, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the U.S. State Department show us with their data that the global production and trafficking of cocaine is steadily decreasing.
Their statistics have official status, thus serving as a reference for the whole international community: various countries’ drug fighting services, academics and all those involved in prevention.
The UNODC and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs in Lisbon summarize this alleged improvement with the reassuring notion of "supply reduction," which means, on one hand, that thanks to the governmental commitment of three countries – Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, where the plantations are located – decreased cocaine production has been achieved. In particular, the Colombian authorities say that they destroy plantations with systematic fumigation or with manual eradication. On the other hand, a decrease in circulating cocaine is indicated through the action of different countries’ police forces, which are allegedly able to seize most of it.
That would sound encouraging if only the depicted figures were not entirely fictional and arbitrary.
In order to understand the actual situation – a huge "black hole" was already reported by Libera back in June 2007 – we must access Colombia’s data. The UNODC and the U.S. State Department have been stating with one voice for some years now that Colombian production is sharply decreasing, thanks to Plan Colombia, launched by the U.S. Congress in the year 2000, the multiple efforts by UNODC, and the broad opposition actions supposedly undertaken by the Colombian governmental authorities.
However, this alleged decline in cocaine production in Colombia is contradicted by most significant indices, all spiraling upwards, especially the amount of domestic seizures in Colombia.
Contradiction gives way to certainty when we compare UNODC and U.S. State Department estimates of Colombia’s production with the amount of Colombian cocaine seized worldwide. The data comes from an ongoing study on cocaine seizures in the world, which daily receives news from governmental websites and major international news agencies1. As of October 26, 2011, around 644 tons of cocaine had been seized. The country producing about 380 tons is known or inferable and over 80% (312.901 tons) comes from Colombia. At this rate, by the end of the year, seizures of recognized Colombian cocaine will exceed 380 tons. Actually, the figure will be far higher, considering that in many cases the drug’s country of origin is not tracked or disclosed.
This means that it will exceed – by far, indeed –production estimates for 2010 by the UNODC (350 tons) and by the Department of State (290 tons) and definitively refute them. Moreover, considering that the same U.S. Army seizures fail to intercept more than 15% of the cocaine in circulation2, it appears that Colombian production is set between at least 2,500 and 3,000 tons.
In order to expose the deception carried out for years by the U.S. State Department and the UNODC, for reasons that are far from clear, there is no need to resort to these comparisons. A single example can serve the purpose: two weeks ago, in the Colombian province of Meta, a cocaine processing lab (cristalizadero) was discovered. According to the Policia Nacional de Colombia, it was producing 500 to 800 kg per day3. So, this lab alone inserted 180 to 290
tons of cocaine per year into the market, roughly the amount that the U.S. State Department estimates as Colombia’s overall annual production4! Need we say more?
We just have to await a "miracle": that all of the "government/economists/academics/media" gang, or at least some of them, free themselves from unprincipled business interests and self-censorship to recognize as a priority young people’s right to live in a world where national and international governmental institutions work to combat drugs and not to draw more revenue from them to increasingly fuel their corruption.
1 Data is recapped on a regular basis by the Narcoleaks website (www.narcoleaks.org). It runs a Database with over 4,000 entries concerning international seizures of cocaine with a sizing amounts that range from 10 kilos to several tons. Given the volume of each seizure, we can obviously conclude that it concerns pure cocaine, directly linkable to cocaine leaving the production workshops.
2 For this purpose, we suggest reading the target percentages of expected seizures by the U.S. Army in the Pacific. Inserire riferimento
3 http://oasportal.policia.gov.co/portal/pls/portal/JOHN.NOTICIAS_NUEVAS_DETALLADAS.SHOW?p_arg_names=identificador&p_arg_values=294486 The production of the last few days was found inside the cristalizadero: 6 tons of cocaine along with 120 tons of chemical precursors for the drug refining process.
4 Hundreds of cristalizaderos are currently operating in Colombia, each of them producing 5 to 50 tons of cocaine per year. For example, the day after the detection of the huge cristalizadero in Meta, another one was found in the province of Narino, able to produce around 50 tons of cocaine per year http://oasportal.policia.gov.co/portal/pls/portal/JOHN.NOTICIAS_NUEVAS_DETALLADAS.SHOW?p_arg_names=identificador&p_arg_values=294590