Drug trafficking in Colombia is a business worth over $50 billion at an annual rate, statistics show. These drug trafficking statistics are created to get men and women to realize how much of a real problem drug cartels are and the existing commotion it is causing all around the world. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) makes over 30,000 arrests each year in correlation to the sales and distribution of illegal drugs. Colombia ranks amongst one of the highest exporter in drugs. (Drug Abuse) Drug cartels have had a negative influence on many aspects of Colombia(ns). We always ask ourselves the five “W” questions, who, what, when where, why and the occasional how. Those questions are relevant for knowing how cartels function and to be more informed in the world we live in.
The problem is that there are many operating drug cartels in Colombia and drug trafficking is such a huge issue it’s almost unreal. Drug cartels are an illicit cartel originated to control the production and distribution of narcotic drugs and drug trafficking is simply the illegal dispensation of those narcotic drugs being manufactured. This criminal organization’s main objective is promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. The structure of these drug cartels usually consist of 4 branches, the falcons, the hit men, the lieutenants, and the drug lords. The falcons (halcones) are considered the “eyes and ears” or lookouts out in the streets and are the lowest ranked in cartels. Their responsibilities are to supervise and report operations of the military and the rivalry groups. The hit men (sicarios) are the one’s responsible for executing assassination, kidnappings, thefts, and defending their own from rival groups and military. The second highest position in the cartels goes to the lieutenants (lugartenientes). Their duty is to watch out for the falcons and hit men and is granted the permission to kill others without the permission of their bosses. The cartel’s highest position is held by the drug lord (capos) which handle the whole drug industry and have the most authority and power in cartels. (Worldpress).
Drug trafficking exist in many parts of the world and is a real problem, but the main focus here is Colombia. Colombia ranks amongst one of the largest producer of coca, the plant used to make cocaine. In the 1970s several groups began to make immense profits from the production and selling of illegal drugs especially cocaine. Colombia became the world’s largest producer of cocaine and in the 1980’s and in the 90s the drug trade was controlled by the cartels. It has been home to some of the most violent and sophisticated drug trafficking organizations in the world (World Book 783).
This issue is accompanied by a lot of consequences. A consequence is the growth in money-disguised activities essential to the vast drug profits. The inflation of land and property prevented civilians from purchasing land and made the general population confront difficulties economically. This still thrives in modern-day Colombia. With such obstacles put in one’s path, citizens have no other choice, but to join the cartels themselves and strive and overcome these problems. The desperation takes over and the cartels commence to rise in numbers and the situation become worse. These drug trades embellished the level of corruption. With the massive amount of financial resources the cartels had to spare, they were capable of buying political and judicial powers whenever they needed. The impact that drugs have given off are a big defining factor in Colombia’s social, cultural, economic, and political development (World Book 783).
Drug cartels started as small cocaine smuggling. It later enhanced into an immense multi-national cocaine empire within the last thirty years. Narcotics began to governor in Colombia in the early 1970’s which was just beginning as a small marijuana negotiation. It began from smuggling small suitcases of cocaine to sprouting to large distributions (Frontline).
Regardless, it is an issue and Colombia’s every-day struggles are reflecting that, but it is also an issue for other various reasons. The guerrilla groups have been influenced and benefited from these drug trades. They gain money from producers of coca in return for protection for the producers from the government. They then use the money to invest in weapons and enlarge their armies. This prohibited alliance creates a win-win situation that they both from. This is a problem, because it is harder for the cartels to be found and punished as well as is the government being cheated on. Another result has been an increase of crime’s capacity in Colombia and the homicide rates have been outrageous and reached alarming levels. The numbers of fatalities are crucial and will in fact keep increasing as other variables in the cartels increase as well. (World Book 783).
As citizens not much can be done to stop such powerful cartels. They’re intimidating and horrifying with the actions and executions that have been lively published and displayed, so civilians don’t really want involvement or any sort of participation. A series of actions have been taken by the government, such as in the 1980’s when the Colombian and U.S Government began an effort to abrupt the drug trades. The U.S delivered several drug traffickers to the United States, so they could receive the consequences there. In response the cartels executed bombings, assassinations, and other various terrorist attacks. In recent years, more than 1,300 of Colombia’s top crime bases and their most dangerous enforcers have been sent North to face the charges in the U.S for drug trafficking to the full extent. If they were to stay in Colombia’s custody, some traffickers still manage to operate their drug organizations while being captivated in a luxurious prison cell near home and have access to phones, wall to wall carpet, and big screen TV’s. The U.S Government spent nearly $8 million in 2009 to train and equip Colombian police, militaries, and judiciary members to fight criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking. An additional $1.7 million was spent to aid Colombian police and to share information to fight drug trafficking networks (The Washington Times).
In order to get familiar with the cartels in Colombia, the five “w” questions have to be asked, who, what, when, where, and the outlier how. The Colombian cartels are gaining much control in Colombia due to all the impacts and fear they have lain upon all the residents of Colombia. They have managed to affect the culture, economy, population and life of an ordinary Colombian as well as many other points. Drug trafficking is such a huge issue in this vulnerable country and was bound to happen with such fertile land existing in the land of Colombia. Poverty and the craving to be at the top led this ambitious, small organization to convert into a world problem and cause major problems along the way. With that being said, be careful with what you practice, because practice makes perfect and who knows what it will turn into…maybe the world’s next issue.