Letter

The "War on Drugs"

By Bonnie McFadden
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Dear Editor:
With its "War on Drugs" initiated by the Reagan Administration in the U.S. in the 1980's, a massive, privatized "anti-drug" industry was created, whose tentacles reach throughout the world.  
The U.S. policy of treating drug acquisition and addiction as a crime with lengthy prison sentences, fueling the private prison industry, rather than as a health issue to be treated medically, has likewise fueled the growth of the "anti-drug" armament industry which sells it deadly wares to police and military and paramilitary agencies (and likely drug cartels) world-wide at high profits. 
Since the "War on Drugs" insures that the illegal growing, transporting and sales of drug products, with the attendant risk of long prison sentences,  is an expensive process which requires large organizations (the Cartels) to effectively run, the high costs are passed on to the customers on the street.  To pay for their drugs, street addicts, who tend to be poor,  commit property thefts from their neighbors to pay for their drugs.
But local property crimes is almost a minor result, as the high drug profits spawn massive corruption and violence throughout the world.
Similar to other private capitalist businesses, the competition among drug cartels for monopolies --  for exclusive control over crop lands,  transportation and smuggling lines, and markets for their drugs requires armed gangs of youth to fight the battles for their "cartels" control.  This yields continual bloody battles in the streets and towns along drug routes, producing massive crime waves as has been seen repeatedly in Mexico and Colombia.  It also puts a massive amount of pistols, rifles, shotguns and other war paraphernalia in the hands of youths in drug route cities throughout the world, weaponry that largely comes from the U.S. arms manufacturers.  
The U.S. is the main consumer of illegal drugs in the world.  In South America, Colombia is the main source of cocaine, a popular street drug in the U.S.  Venezuela has been  an important export route for the drug cartels to get their product from Colombia to market in the U.S.  Thus, Venezuelan "trade routes" are likewise subject to the operation of the drug cartels,  putting a vast amount of arms into the hands of youths here.  Where there is a huge amount of illegal weapons available, that availability creates a culture of violence, where use of a weapon is an easy decision, aided no doubt, by the availability of violent video games, yet another common U.S. export.
The Chavez government has been putting great efforts into stopping the flow of drugs through this country, but as long as the U.S. policy of  its "War on Drugs" still keeps drug prices (and the profits therefrom) extremely high, it will be difficult to keep drugs and weapons out of the hands of the youth who work for the cartels along their Venezuelan trade routes.  The cartels pay high wages to the kids for their murderous deeds, as well as supplying the weapons.  Raises in the minimum wage here, however, high, can't compete with the cartels largess. 
If the U.S. legalized drug access, the extremely high profits of both the drug cartels and the "War on Drugs" armament and prison industries would collapse, thus their ability to purchase weapons and the young men to use them would collapse.  It might then be possible to actually enforce an effective  law against armaments here
The extreme high profits from drugs, caused by U.S. policy, has enabled the drug cartels to spread corruption among government officials at every level throughout the world.  To halt this culture of violence and corruption, the countries of the world must demand that the U.S. legalize drugs and stop funding the anti-drug armaments industry.
While it is likely true, as Jesse Chacon, director of GISXXI, reports that violent crime in Venezuela was equally a fact of life under the long years of the opposition's Punto Fijo governments, it is equally important to look at the global affects of U.S. "War on Drugs" policies for an answer to why so many male youths here are killing and dying themselves for the last 30 or so years.  
High profits from drugs, insured by U.S. drug policies and their anti-drug industries, are killing Venezuelan youth and otherwise causing havoc throughout the world.  The many countries which are suffering the effects of the U.S.'s deadly policies must unite and demand that they be ended immediately.
Justina
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