Black America says: America Must Get Tough with Countries that Produce Drugs or We will Suffer Most
Date: Friday, April 07, 2006
By: Judge Greg Mathis, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com
The U.S. government has spent billions, both at home and abroad, to fight the ongoing “war on drugs” and has achieved varying, controversial results. At home, stiff drug penalties land even non-violent, low-level drug offenders in prison, overcrowding a cyclical system that punishes but fails to rehabilitate. Around the world, campaigns designed to significantly reduce the flow of heroin and cocaine into the U.S. result in major international drug arrests and seizures, but weaken those local communities in the process.
Curbing drug use in America is -- and should be -- a top priority, but the right solution has not been easy to find. However, when our very own allies begin to undermine our efforts to prevent illegal drugs from reaching U.S. shores, the battle becomes even more difficult to fight.
This country has faced some serious setbacks in its international war on drugs. According to a recently released U.S. State Department report, Bolivia and Peru, two of the world’s leading coca producers -- cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant -- have begun to back away from U.S. plans to reduce the cultivation of the plant in those countries. The nation’s local grower’s associations are pressuring their leaders to protect their products, and those leaders are listening. As a result, coca production has grown in both countries, and the trend is expected to continue. Though 90 percent of American-bound cocaine is produced in Columbia, Bolivia and Peru are poised to become key players on the international drug scene over the next several years.
What’s disturbing is that these nations look to our government in times of need, yet their local lawmakers aren’t playing a big enough part in making sure the pipeline of illegal drugs to America is closed off. The U.S. recently offered Bolivia $600 million in governmental aid, yet Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, a past leader of a coca grower’s union, has essentially encouraged his people to increase production of the plant.
The U.S. has to crack down on these countries; either they are true allies or they are not. If local leaders like Morales continue to chip away at U.S. efforts, then they should be hit with economic sanctions. These nations cannot continue to receive large sums of money from our country while simultaneously disregarding our international drug enforcement efforts.
The U.S. government spends more than $160 billion a year -- on healthcare, incarceration, prevention programs, etc. -- addressing the country’s drug epidemic. The health and safety of our communities will continue to suffer as long as these countries continue to produce and export illegal substances into this country. African-Americans especially will continue to be victimized -- nearly half of the drug offenders in U.S. prisons are black.
While the fight against drug abuse should continue here at home -- with a focus on healing and rebuilding -- the international war must be supported.
Judge Greg Mathis is national vice president of Rainbow PUSH and a national board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
What upsets me most about this article is that it's being portrayed as being the voice of "Black America". When they say "African-Americans especially will continue to be victimized -- nearly half of the drug offenders in U.S. prisons are black." do you think they mean the African Americans are being victimized by farmers in Bolivia or Peru? Or are they being victimised by white DEA officials and police officers? I wonder....
Klaatu (talking too much politics usually means people have had too few drugs)