Drug Trafficking Organizations in the Pacific are posing a grave threat to the government of Colombia, the United States as well the Mexican society. Military counterattacks on drug traffickers are usually immediately answered by militant action that undermines government legacy to provide a secure environment for all citizens. Colombia is facing violent paramilitary internal conflicts between government forces and narcotic terror gangs who control crop farming in Colombia whereby coca is grown by intimidation for export. Colombia drug Mafia and insurgents use a lot of profit made from selling cocaine to increased social violence in a bid to control most land properties in Colombia because of high and guaranteed cocaine market in the United States following use of undetectable submersibles to transport drugs to the coast United States. The Russian Mafia is accused of helping the Colombians develop sophisticated submersibles and submarines since 1999 that equally pose a great danger against the government of Colombia since the drug traffickers can easily access, transport and use weapons of mass destruction against Colombians who oppose coca crop farming. The first submarine was arrested in 1993, and so far 11 submersibles have been destroyed. Columbia produces 70% of the world Cocaine and 90% of the product is sold in America (Marcella 4); therefore the social stigma attached to the production of cocaine in Colombia is bitter since the drug industry though worth 15 billion has destabilized Colombia security, undermined the economy through land tenure systems controls and induced internal wars.
Colombia emerged as a significant cocaine transit route to the United States in early 1980s following proliferation of coca plant in Upper Huallaga Valley in Peru. The valley in Peru is the Latin America’s most fertile stronghold of narcotic groups who are united as cartels to protect coca plant growers from antinarcotics police. The main insurgent group associated with coca plant fields in Colombia is Sendero Luminoso whose cartel controls coca production. The group has organized farmers and coca planters into associations from which they buy exclusively all the coca plant products produced in the valley (Watkins 2). It is believed that the highest amount of cocaine produced from Colombia and Peru is the largest crack consignment in the whole world. Presence of Sendero Luminoso and other viable cocaine syndicates in Colombia have created a wealth funded narco-terrorism gang that colludes with Colombian criminals to maintain the profitable trade across the Pacific. Cocaine started to be processed in Colombia as a result of spreading technology and terror gang protection by gangs during the early 1990s and 1980sColumbia is a poor counter whose peasant farmers lack alternative methods of creating wealth. Therefore, when the 300,000 acres of Coca in Peru that produced 120,000 tones of coca leaf dropped to a mere 37,000 tones as a result of most land being placed under better agricultural practices, a new Colombian territory was created and put under the narco-terror gangs’ control who are estimated to have harvested 520 tons of cocaine from Colombia at the end of 1999. Colombia coca production increased the country’s output from 93, 000 acres to 122,500 acres in 2000 (Watkins 3). Negative impacts are associated with the increased production of coca in Colombia. Economically, the country subsistence farming dropped when peasant farmers started to grow coca instead of food crops resulting in high food prices and possible inflation since cocaine exports benefit only the barons. A significant proportion of Colombian land territory lost value when it was subsequently placed under illegal crop farming; the main social impact of on land include induced poverty, displacement of population as a result of land tenure change and economic changes resulting from the change from legal farming to illegal coca farming.
New Technology Aiding Cocaine
History of Cocaine Cartels in Colombia
In 2009, a Joint Interagency Task Force operating at the South detected and intercepted a SPSS submersible 350 miles off coast that had four Colombian crew and 6.4 tons of cocaine cargo aboard worth $100 million US dollars. Gang wars cost a lot of resources and in terms of lost lives, equipment and profits; nevertheless, the Colombian gangs are always prepared to confront the army and antinarcotics police (Reinarman and Levine 757). It is believed that Colombia submersibles are responsible for transit of over 600 tones of Cocaine exported from Colombia making approximately US$15 billion from illegal trade. The main social impact of such a large amount of money is excessive violence following proliferation of weapons intended to keep safe the traffickers. Many youth are affected by the trade because most of land is put into coca farming that has displaced alternative economic activities have stalled. Russian mafia has been pointed out to have helped assemble submarines in Colombia to transport Cocaine to market. Secondly, the Russian are accused barter trading sophisticated weapons in return for cocaine that end up in European, American and Russian markets (Marcella 27). The social impact of Russians weapon in Colombia is definitely unimaginable violence bearing in mind that the country is facing security concerns.
Fast moving and undetectable Self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) started entering the Colombian market as early as 1993 when the United States FDA intercepted and arrested one. According to the research done by the United States Naval in conjunction with the government of Colombia, it was discovered that drug traffickers are employing use of submarines to transport cocaine without being detected due to high speed technology borrowed from Russia (1). Colombia produces 70% of world cocaine (Marcella 4).Drug trafficking organizations have the financial capacity to launch self-propelled fully submersibles (SPFSs), through which the smugglers easily elude and dupe the police authorities and anti-cocaine campaign (Watkins 1).
New technology in Cocaine Industry is presenting a new challenge in that the United States Pacific border is not protected from self-propelled fully submersibles that cannot be detected using the common detection equipment. Thus, the United States society should be more prepared for high injection of cocaine trade between Colombia and South America’s suppliers.
The drug SPSS and SPFSs pose a great danger of transporting weapons of mass destruction undetected up to the coast of the United States. In any case, terror organizations can take advantage of the scenario to practically immobilize the Colombian territory and take control of the territory for exclusive cocaine planting and manufacturing processes. According to Steve McLoud, the remote Amazon jungle provides a heavy canopy whereupon sophisticated Colombian submersibles can be hidden in deep mangrove forests; besides, cocaine submarines are customized to accommodate six crew members and about eight to ten tons of cocaine estimated between US$250 and US$500 million US dollars per trip (1). Cocaine submersibles use the latest GPS and satellite equipment to detect authorities from far to avoid being detected; and to that effect Major Raul Donado of Colombia Marines has insisted that once the semi-subs leave for the sea, it is 98% impossible to detect and whenever the cocaine-submersibles are detected the crew are trained to open emergence valves built into the subs to scuttle the vessel and the cocaine merchandise (Brodzinsk 1).
During the early 1999 Colombian drug traffickers hired Russian investors to built super SPSS and SPFSs that can easily penetrate the United States market without detection. For instance, police in Bogota came across a submarine that was Russian made, but belonged to a small warehouse in Facatativa. Therefore, the United States and the government made conclusions that the Russian Mafia was doing business with the Colombian and Peru insurgents in a bid to defeat the United States strategy and capacity to counter drug trafficking. Specifically, with submarine transpiration, one submarine can carry up to 10 metric tones of cocaine from Columbia to the Pacific, Latin and Caribbean countries who lack capacity to monitor underwater movement (Watkins 5).
Problems Colombians are facing because of Cocaine Border on Violence
In 2002, the Colombian armed forces successful conducted 8, 304 military operation in which 1,718 members of the FARC, ENL and AUC were killed. Averagely the three Drug Trafficking Organizations have lost 3,433 members in which the state called on gangs to surrender to justice (Marcella 4). Therefore, the collective security of Colombians and tourists visiting is quite vague and uninsured in regard to intensive violent activities that smugglers are ready to use to evade the army and the police. Thus, besides Colombians fearing to venture into the tourism sector, tourists fear meeting a drug cartel shoot out. Colombia’s tourism sector has faded over time affecting organizations and social functions that depend on tourism for economic empowerment. Traffickers have before hijacked passenger jets and boats to ferry drugs to specific dropping zones. The United States police department has indicated that the Colombian traffickers are smart and ready to counter police force, particularly, since police lacks submersibles that can be used to detect and chase after the smugglers in Colombia. In case of a chase and exchange of bullets between Colombian authorities and the smugglers, statistics claim that innocent Colombians have fallen victims of the drug chase. Proliferation of weapons in the Colombian society is quite evident following the need for cartels to arm in case of a police confrontation (Marcella 44).
Colombian farmers can be trained to stop intercropping drugs and crops. However, the Colombian country lacks credible systems to defeat the insurgents who control farmers through financial and economic schemes, since the majority of lands under control belong to poor individuals who lack access to promising credit facilities. Equally, international cooperation agencies trying to make a change in Colombia are facing new land tenure systems resulting from armed conflicts (Zaitch 250). Sometimes, the land lacks a clear owner, since legitimate owners that have borrowed loans from insurgents lost their land strips, once the cocaine terror gangs started land confiscation to promote drug activities and farming.
According to Ricardo Vargas Meza the author of USAID’s Alternative Development Policy in Colombia, Colombia is an economically poor country, compared to the United States, to counter the Colombia Mafia, the Russian and Peru drug traffickers who use elusive technology to dupe Colombian authorities (1). Development partners, like USAID that pumped US$123.5 million for counternarcotics and a further grant of US$ 42.5 million for alternative development, faced stiff attacks from mafia who opposed the first phase of the 2001-2004 programs aimed at transforming Colombian farming from illegal crop farming into legal programs (Meza 1). Therefore, the Colombian government plan to only establish alternative and legal modern farms in Putumayo failed, because of paramilitary confrontation due to “zero coca” condition that was imposed on farmers before accessing credit and ready market. The economic program by USAID second phase, More Investment for Alternative Development (MIDAS), was proposed as a tactic to influence social transformation from illegal economic activities mindset into realistic individual owned private enterprises with ready free market. The programs have been successful in parts of Colombia, as a result of involving the Counternarcotics police, defense ministry and the Armed forces (Meza 2).
Personal view on the problem is that for Colombia to defeat the drug menace, that is controlling violence and excess use of force to displace population, the society has to rise to emulate economic empowerment strategies, like legal farming. Since cocaine or crack, according to Craig Reinarman and Harry Levine, spreads to the rest of society and that crack has become America’s “drug of choice” (186), extraordinary measures have to be put in place by both, the American government and the government of Colombia to monitor narcotics activity in the Pacific. Alternative social reforms and change is welcomed in the financial sector, particularly, because lack of credit is the cause of poverty and agony that results in planting illegal crops with the hope to reap and become wealth in vain. However, the government has to inject realistic capital to the tune of billions of US dollars to strengthen the Colombian domestic economy and reduce poverty that is the main factor forcing many to grow illegal crops. The United States should help Colombia set up tight international measures intended to intervene in the narcotic conflict zones, especially in eliminating the use of submarines and Russian technology. Conclusively, if the Peru society overcomes the narcotic menace, it is highly probable that even Colombia can overcome the problem if the international community acts to restrict sale of technology and weapons to terror and narcotic gangs. Domestically, Colombia needs to counter insurgency not by using the army only, but also dissemination of information, restructuring economic policy and other socioeconomic factors that can boost economic development based on emerging legal trade and farming.