“If there was no consumption there would be no sales” (Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman)
“I’m a decent man who exports flowers” (Pablo Escobar)
“After having turned the cheek, it is legitimate to kill” (Raffaele Cutolo)
Manuel Noriega (1934-): military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989. In 1989 he was deposed from power after the American invasion of Panama. Before the American invasion, Noriega was an important CIA asset due to his support for anti-communist forces across Latin America (for this very reason Noriega’s well known drug trafficking was tolerated). Noriega had close relationships with Colombia’s infamous Medellin drug cartel (of which Pablo Escobar was a key member). Panama’s political system had become known as a ‘narcokleptocracy’ when Noriega was in the apogee of his power.
In the favelas, those (often minors) alerting the drug-dealers in case the police is coming are called the ‘antennas’.
“Parapolítica” (the combination of politica and paramilitar) is the name given to a scandal in Colombian politics- it refers to the alleged collusion between some key political figures and right-wing vigilantes militia (like the AUC).
The most important militia in Colombia like FARC and AUC use drug-trafficking to finance their operations.
Afghanistan is located in the Golden Crescent region- a fertile area for drug production. It is the biggest producer of opium poppy and also a producer of hashish. The talibans have many crops of opium poppy to finance their military activities (the opium can then be made into heroin). Allegedly, also the Haqqani network is involved in drug-trafficking. Even though various Muslim clerics have issued fatwas to denounce the drug business.
The Durand line, the border separating the Pasthun tribes of Pakistan and Afghanistan, is known for cross-border drug trafficking. Pasthuns generally oppose this border.
La familia Michoacana: a drug cartel that was led by Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, a religious fanatic.
Many cartel members venerate Santa Muerte.
Some members of the drug cartels torture their victims while listening to the ‘la piñata’ song.
One of the top producers of hashish.
-The Darien Gap (linking Colombia with Panama), a jungle with no infrastructure, is extremely dangerous to cross because it is currently occupied by FARC militias. The Darien Gap is also known as a corridor for drug trafficking.
-The triple frontier (a large area where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay have common borders and where the Iguazu falls are located) is known as a hub and safe haven for organised crime because of the state of lawlessness there. Even Hezbollah are known to have a base there. The road (more precisely the ‘Bridge of Friendship’) linking Brazil and Paraguay has no passport controls and is widely used for all sorts of smuggling.
-Golden Triangle: an area in South-east Asia (encompassing Laos, Myanmar, Thailand) known for poppy opium production and illicit heroin labs. However the Golden Triangle has been eclipsed by the much more fertile Golden Crescent- in Southern Afghanistan poppies on average yield four times more opium than the Golden Triangle crops.
-Lazarat in Albania considered to be the cannabis capital of Europe.