500 word discussion response gilberto

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500 word discussion response, 2 sources. 250 words per numbered paragraph, 1 source.

Postwar cocaine resurgence

  1. 1947-1959

Author Paul Gootenberg articulates the international history of cocaine in his article “The pre-Colombian era of drug trafficking in the Americas: cocaine, 1945-1965.” In his article, Mr. Gootenberg particularly addresses the time following the end of World War II and the advent of the Cold War as two defining episodes in the twentieth century that resurrected cocaine as the defining illicit commodity in the Western Hemisphere.

The modern cocaine phenomenon began after the World War II when individual Andean dealers linked Peruvian producers to customers in the U.S. This raise and dispersion of cocaine was in large part a reaction to U.S.’s repressive policies towards the worldwide production of cocaine. Peru’s proximity to the Amazonian jungle was the birthplace of cocaine’s industry, specifically the precursor paste form used to manufacture street grade cocaine. Beginning in 1947, the U.S. began antidrug operations to criminalize cocaine production. Realizing the international influence of cocaine and the industrialization level it had reached, the newly formed United Nations (U.N.) also began to pressure these early producers. This pressure on Peruvian producers created a balloon effect moving the industrial level production further south into Bolivia (Gootenberg, P. 2007). Being a landlocked country, Bolivia had never developed a coca-cocaine production and exporting system at the level Peru had previously achieved. However, following Peru’s gelding as main producer, Bolivia became the world’s principal source for illicit cocaine in the 1950s. The ensuing civil Bolivian revolution of 1952 and law enforcement pressure from organizations such as INTERPOL, created yet another turning point in geopolitics, pushing Bolivian into the jungle regions of the Amazon to produce raw coca, and team up with Chilean smugglers; making Chile soon after the main corridor of cocaine into the U.S.

In addition, prerevolutionary Cuba (only 90 miles away from U.S. soil) also became a key route for international traffickers and the further transshipment of cocaine into the U.S. Becoming the first post World War II “sin city” in the Western Hemisphere, Havana (Cuba’s capital) was a cesspool where gangsters exploited a myriad of vices and illicit activities, and injected cocaine use into modern popular culture. This safe haven was short lived, since the 1959 revolution drove these cocaine dealers out of Cuba. Consequently, these now expelled cocaine profiteers sought refuge in other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Argentina and Brazil; from where they continued to receive Bolivian raw cocaine with which to manufacture into cocaine ready for distribution mostly destined to U.S. cities like Miami and New York.

  1. 1959-1964

Cocaine commodity exploded into a huge global criminal enterprise following the shifting in geography as a reaction to national political conflicts, U.S. drug policies and the political tensions of the Cold War. The adoption of antidrug laws in Bolivia around 1961 (led by the U.S.) caused a decentralization of ownership in the coca trade. This displacement allowed a cross pollination of tactics, techniques and procedures among these new coca entrepreneurs. This new multinational network of dispersed Peruvian, Bolivian, Cuban and Chilean smugglers further caused cocaine production to increase. Drug trafficking in the early 1960s was characterized by the boom in the quantity of cocaine flow (i.e. from ounces to kilos). It was also characterized by the formalization in the connection between Andean coca farmers, independent laboratories, established trafficking networks, and displaced dealers whom had now settled in major distribution cities in Latin America and the U.S. (Gootenberg, P. 2007).

After analyzing Mr. Gootenberg’s essay, the absence of large scale violence is evident. Unlike in opium’s case, it can perhaps be inferred that this multinational network of merchants managed to coexist without any significant national repression or international crisis. Only small to medium level merchants were imprisoned; most of whom were arrested in connection to trafficking in mainland U.S. Another indirect point is the relationship between the U.S.’s fight against communism spreading during the Cold War, and the civil and economic collapse of countries in Latin America. This period of American protectionism along with hard anti drug policies, led the U.S. to later win the Cold War but inevitably brought the emergence and hostile takeover of modern day cartels like in 1970s Colombia and present day Mexico (Gootenberg, P. 2012).


Gootenberg, P. (2007). The pre-Colombian era of drug trafficking in the Americas: cocaine, 1945-1965. http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/209595867/

Gootenberg, P. (2012). Cocaine’s long march north, 1900-2010. http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://www.jstor.org/stable/41485345?pq-origsite=summon

2. How Mexican cartels defined U.S. drug policies

Operation Intercept

By the late 1960s, expelled Latin American mafiosos that settled in Mexico decades earlier had identified the two thousand long Mexican border with the U.S. as the latest and greatest passage to deliver cocaine to American consumers. The vast open lands and massive traffic through the ports of entry allowed Mexican traffickers to smuggle tons of cocaine into the U.S.

In 1969, the U.S. federal government engaged in an all out anti drug operation with the intent to halt northbound drugs coming through Mexico. This operation (coined Operation Intercept) lasted three weeks and practically halted all legal trade and travel along the U.S.-Mexico border, costing millions of dollars to both countries’ economies. The largest deployment of federal law enforcement agents up to that time yielded little drugs seized, however persuaded the Mexican government to adopt a stronger posture against drug traffickers in Mexico. Operation Intercept also broke ground in drug enforcement cooperation between the two countries, as demonstrated by the subsequent Operation Cooperation and the drugs seizures by the Mexican government. More importantly, this cross border teamwork spanned across the tactical, operational and strategic levels of national governance.

Operation Condor

From 1975 to 1976, the U.S. and Mexico governments engaged in drug eradication operations to curtail the drug flow into the U.S. and the derivative human insecurity problems such as crime, corruption and domestic instability emerging from the area designated as the critical triangle (Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua). The aerial crop extermination program, targeted enforcement and extreme prejudice with which traffickers and their associates were dealt with proved to be very effective. However, similarly to Bolivian smugglers that colonized larger regions of the Amazonian jungle in an attempt to escape drug enforcement, smugglers from the critical triangle expanded crop production into areas of Mexico outside Operation Condor’s targeted enforcement.

Operation Condor also resulted in collateral damage, as widespread accusations of brutality and human rights violations emerged. This caused a distrust among the Mexican citizenry for their government institutions. Just like in other countries in Latin America, U.S. foreign policy spearheaded by intelligence assets aggressively persecuted persons of interest (Grillo, I. 2013). This became an extremely sensitive issue for the Mexican government after anti insurgency tactics were used against the civilian population.

Although Mexico was able to deal with narcotraffickers successfully with the help of the U.S., it was not able to sustain their dominance over drug smugglers long term. It is perhaps possible to infer that Mexico had difficulty dealing with basic problems of governance and public order in order to establish legitimacy over its national institutions. A possible fragmentation among groups like the military and civil government snowballed into violence against the population. The struggle to consolidate political and social institutions in order to achieve national unification was subsequently exploited by drug smugglers; whom used capital to perpetuate a vicious cycle of corruption across all levels of government, debilitated institutions incapable of implementing a well-organized administration, and a lack of confidence, cooperation and participation from the populace.


Grillo, I. (2013). Mexican cartels: a century of defying U.S. drug policy. http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1513212378/

Apinwall, M. & Reich, S. (2012). Who is Wile E. Coyote? Power, influence and the war on drugs. http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1767481916/fulltext/EAE691185AF84F67PQ/1/

Gootenberg, P. (2012). Cocaine’s long march north, 1900-2010. http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://www.jstor.org/stable/41485345?pq-origsite=summo

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