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September 2006
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Cocaine

Guest post by Daksya

The headline at CNN online shouts ‘Cali leaders forfeit $2.1 billion‘. In the article, US attorney general Alberto Gonzales noticeably omits any comment on the impact of this event on the overall US cocaine trade, instead offering a meek self-congratulation:

“The brothers’ guilty pleas effectively signals the final, fatal blow to the powerful Cali cartel,” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at a Washington news conference. “This is a day of pride for the people of Colombia and for international law enforcement.”

With good reason.

The heads of the Medellin cartel, one, Carlos Lehder, was incarcerated in the US in 1992, and two, Pablo Escobar, was killed in a shootout in 1993. The heads of the other big cartel, based in Cali, once responsible for 80% of the cocaine imported into the US, are now behind bars as well. So how has the War on Drugs been going? One corner away from victory? Well, not quite.

According to the UN World Drug Report 2006, these are the figures depicting the recent state of the cocaine trade.

  • Production: Potential cocaine production in Colombia in metric tons
  • Wholesale: US Wholesale price (per gm; inflation-adjusted)
  • Retail: US Retail price (per gm; inflation-adjusted)
Year Production Wholesale Retail
1990: 92 68 275
1991: 88 69 254
1992: 91 67 237
1993: 119 60 199
1994: 201 56 180
1995: 230 50 168
1996: 300 44 157
1997: 350 42 154
1998: 435 38 149
1999: 680 36 138
2000: 695 34 147
2001: 617 24 108
2002: 580 25 93
2003: 550 23 80
2004: 640 23 90
2005: 640 * 104

Just give it five more years. This time..

Plan Colombia and Beyond is a very nice blog to keep up with the WoD and Colombia.

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