The Debt Boomerang: How Third World Debt Harms Us All

The Debt Boomerang: How Third World Debt Harms Us All

The Debt Boomerang: How Third World Debt Harms Us All

The Debt Boomerang: How Third World Debt Harms Us All


Research and Documentation by Peter Andreas and Humberto Campodonico

Violent crime in the United States jumped 10 per cent in 1990, continuing a six-year surge fueled by more murders and a wave of drug-related incidents ... The Federal Bureau of Investigation said its preliminary statistics ... showed all offenses in the violent-crime category increasing sharply last year. Murder and aggravated assaults each soared 10 per cent, rape went up 9 per cent and robberies jumped 11 per cent ... The figures marked the sixth straight year the overall crime rate rose in a trend which experts attributed largely to more drug-related violence ...

Reuters dispatch, International Herald Tribune , 29 April 1991

The drug trade is Latin America's only successful multinational.

Alan Garcia, former president of Peru

In 1989, a record number of Americans -- 64 per cent -- cited drugs as the number one problem of the United States -- the highest proportion of people ever to agree on the priority of a single issue if we are to believe the pollsters. In his first televised speech to the nation on 5 September 1989, President Bush declared 'war on drugs', or, more formally speaking, instituted the multi-billion dollar programme known as the National Drug Control Strategy. In September 1990, the president marked its first anniversary by assuring the American people that the drug war would remain the 'nation's top priority'.

Americans have good reason to be alarmed and the president has arguably used their fears to justify his drug war. Although, for obvious reasons, any figures relating to the booming drug economy -- whether they concern production, consumption or revenues -- are impossible to certify and subject to caution, probably a minimum of 13 million US citizens use illegal drugs. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that drug use has been declining: there may once have been as many as 23 million users (defined as people who tried illegal drugs at least once) in 1985. That's the good news.

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