Pubdate: Sun, 03 Apr 2005
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2005 The Observer
Author: Bee Rowlatt
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


It's great that David Aaronovitch (Comment, last week) says that the film 
Maria Full of Grace made him think about ordinary Colombians placed in 
danger by being 'mules', transporting cocaine out of the country at huge 
risk to their own health. But the 'human cost of the drugs trade' is far 
worse than that.

Colombia's civil war has cost the lives of millions of civilians over four 
decades, and it is perpetuated by the drugs trade. Both sides (the 
guerrilla movements and the right-wing paramilitaries) are directly funded 
by cocaine, both protecting and profiting from its trade. It is blatantly 
described as a 'tax'. Both sides are wealthy, state-of-the-art movements, 
with sophisticated satellite communications and military hardware.

More than two million Colombians have fled their homes, internally 
displaced by violence and massacres (UNHCR). Many more have left the 
country altogether.

Furthermore, Colombia's drug-dealing armed groups are among the worst 
violators of international norms against use of child soldiers.

Bee Rowlatt

London NW3 
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