Noam Chomsky on Drugs
The alleged threat was later transmuted from Drugsto narcoterrorism, exploiting opportunities offered by 9/11. By the end of the millennium, total US military and police assistance in the hemisphere already exceeded economic and social aid. That is a new phenomenon. Even at the height of the Cold War, economic aid far exceeded military aid.
To punish Bolivians, the Bush administration canceled trade preferences, threatening tens of thousands of jobs, on the pretext that Bolivia was not cooperating with US counter-narcotic efforts. In the real world, the UN estimates that Bolivia's coca crop increased 5% in 2007, as compared with 26% increase in Colombia, the terror state that is Washington's closest regional ally and the recipient of enormous military aid.
As discussed earlier, "drug wars" are curious affairs. The same is true of condemnation (and decertification) for alleged noncompliance with US demands on counter-narcotic efforts.
These are poor coffee farmers, mostly. Once the coffee trees are destroyed and the land is fumigated & poisoned, it's poisoned forever. Not only are lives destroyed and crops, but biodiversity is also destroyed, and rather crucially, the tradition of peasant agriculture is destroyed.
The fumigation is officially justified as a "war on drugs." This is hard to take seriously except as a cover for a counterinsurgency program, and another stage in the long history of driving peasants off the land for the benefit of wealthy elites and resource extraction by foreign investors.
The consequence is that if this area ever goes back to agriculture, it will be monoculture for agro-export with laboratory-produced seeds, bought from Monsanto. There's no real other alternative.
Drug-related crimes, usually pretty trivial ones, are mostly what’s filling up the prisons. I haven’t seen many bankers or executives of chemical corporations in prison. People in the rich suburbs commit plenty of crimes, but they’re not going to prison at anything like the rate of the poor.
The administration also targeted marijuana, which hadn’t caused any known deaths among some 60 million users. In fact, the crackdown exacerbated the drug problem.
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