The Latin American Narcotics Trade and U.S. National Security

By Donald J. Mabry | Go to book overview

8
Rethinking Hemispheric
Antinarcotics Strategy and Security

Samuel I. del Villar

The premises and consequences of U.S. narcotics control nowadays have generated a most disruptive relationship between the United States and Latin American countries that appears to endanger as no other threat the regional security of the Western Hemisphere, including that of the United States. The root of the problem is the U.S. narcotics control strategy's erroneous assumption that foreign drug producers and their governments, instead of domestic consumers and the U.S. government, are responsible for drug abuse in the United States and for the threat therefrom to its national security.

I have dealt elsewhere with the irrationality and counterproductivity of such an assumption for curtailing the U.S.-Mexico illicit drug market, and discussed the premise of a new conceptual framework for a rational and more effective antidrug strategy within this bilateral context. 1 The purpose of this chapter is to review it in the context of U.S. and Latin American illicit drug markets, and to explore new avenues for a badly needed alternative and more effective Hemispheric antinarcotics strategy.

That the issue is perceived in the United States as only a question of "The Latin American Narcotics Trade and U.S. National Security" reflects the equivocal assumptions underlying the current approach of antinarcotics strategy. The implication is that the national security of the U.S. is endangered by foreign narcotics trading, while in fact the massive illicit drug consumption and trading within the U.S. States national boundaries are is the major threat to the national security not only of the United States but also of Latin America and the Western Hemisphere as a whole. The U.S. international narcotics control program and Latin American cooperative efforts to implement it have been defeated in their "war on drugs" because, along with the foreign drug interdiction programs, they are the major extensions of such erroneous and counterproductive strategy eluding the core of the threat posed by illicit drug markets and are based upon its secondary effects.

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