Powdered cocaine and coca leaves. (Photo : U.S. government Public Domain)
The United States has made stringent efforts to curb the flow of cocaine into the country by partnering up with South American nations where most of the world's supply originates. However, one country, Venezuela, has been largely left out of U.S. efforts, and the results are showing. Cocaine trafficking is still alive and thriving, and many previous government-led attempts at shutting down production have not worked as cocaine continues to be a problem in the United States.
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A report by the New York Times shows that many of the Venezuelan government's claims that they have curbed cocaine trafficking may have been exaggerated.
William Neuman describes visiting an airstrip used to transport cocaine and finding it just as operational as before. The government had claimed to have made a raid on it, however, it was obvious not many steps were taken to ensure that it would not be used again. Instead of breaking up the runway and making it unusable, the runway was still operational and seems have be used by traffickers who operate with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The report is disheartening as the United States remains the largest consumer of cocaine in the world. Most of it is brought from Colombia through the Caribbean.
The United States has teamed up with countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and other South American countries to help eradicate the flow and production of cocaine. However, due to bad relations between Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and the United States, not much headway has been made in the country.
Cocaine has largely declined in popularity in the United States thanks to the surge in demand for newer, synthetic drugs such as crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy. That does not mean, however, that it is has completely gone out of style.
The United States cocaine market is still valued around $40 billion.
If the flow of illegal drugs into the United States is going to be curbed, then governments are going to have put public health and safety issues (a large part of illegal revenue often goes to firearms, as noticed by the ongoing Mexican drug war) before personal idealism.