Research Paper: Latin America Drug Trafficking

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[. . .] " (2005) While success in this effort was for many years based on "hectares of drug crops under cultivation, tonnage of drugs produced, number of arrests…." (Gamarra, 2005) The success of today is measured with an "added dimension of terrorism" however, Gamarra questions if success "should be measured by the number of 'narco-terrorists' killed?" (2005) Gamarra writes that the capacity of Peru, Bolivia and Colombia to successful establish their state presence "…is linked to the capacity of these three countries to establish state presence throughout their territories, respond effectively to citizen demands for basic services, and maintain the credibility and reputation of their political and security institution." (2005)

VII. Policy Options

There are various policy options that exist for the United States in addressing the drug cartel associated problems in Latin American countries. The policy options available to the United States include such as: (1) Broadening U.S. policy in order to provide "multi-faced aid and deemphasize counternarcotics efforts; (2) Providing support to political institutions and human rights groups and activities; (3) Provide support for economic and alternative development in these countries; (4) Provide increased diplomatic efforts supporting the peace process; (5) Add to the military and police assistance given these countries; (6) Return counternarcotics revenue to the Colombian national police; (7) Suspend or terminate the military assistance to these countries; or (8) Continue with current levels of support and current policy. (Serafino, 2001, paraphrased) It is the opinion of this study that none of these will individually provide an effective answer to dealing with the drug cartels and associated drug trade of Latin American countries but instead it is the position of this work in writing that it will require an ongoing commitment in many areas to assist these countries in combating illegal drug trade in Latin America.

Summary and Conclusion

This work in writing has addressed the debate that exists on U.S. policy regarding the legalization of drugs that are derived from Latin American countries as many individuals do express a belief that the situation would be best handled in this manner by U.S. foreign policy enabling taxes to be realized on drug products. While on the surface this option might appear to be one that would be both positive and lucrative to the United States economy a deeper look at this issue informs one that this option could only result in heinous outcomes not only for Americans but also for democracy throughout the world. The political stability of each of the Latin American countries reviewed in this study and specifically Brazil, Peru and Colombia is at question and this is an ongoing state of affairs as government's rise and fall quickly and democratic principles are the focus by one regime only to be swept away as another political faction assumes power. There is little confidence in legal and governmental institutions in these countries and the drug cartel falls out of power only to reform again. Government in these countries falls under great pressure from drug cartels, their armies and political figureheads often crumbling beneath the threats made or the financial gain offered. Drug cartels offer terrorists throughout the world a place of haven and it is these groups that have been known to transport drugs in the bodies of murdered children. The people living in these countries fear for their lives and this fear is one that is quite valid. The issue addressed in this work in writing is not difficult to conclude upon examination of the literature documenting this situation and indeed this study concludes that the United States cannot due to principles of Democracy, legalize drug trade with Latin American cartels. For the United States to do so would be to provide direct and blatant support to terrorism and would effectively assist terrorists in destroying democracy throughout the entire world. Support provided to Latin American countries in combating the illegal drug trade includes various tools and supports depending on the characteristics and problems and government of each country.


Gamarra, Eduardo A. (2005) State, Drug Policy and Democracy in the Andes. Andean Working Paper. Inter-American Dialogue. June 2005. Retrieved from:,%20Drug%20Policy,%20and%20Democracy%20in%20the%20Andes%20%20(June%202005).pdf

Koops, Megan (2009) "The Divide of the Coca Leaf: National Culture and the Drug Policies of Bolivia and the United States," SPNA Review: Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 3. Retrieved from:

Kroeber, A.L. & Kluckholn, F. (1952). Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. Cambridge: Peabody Museum in: Koops, Megan (2009) "The Divide of the Coca Leaf: National Culture and the Drug Policies of Bolivia and the United States," SPNA Review: Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 3. Retrieved from:

Serafino, Nina M. (2001) Colombia: Conditions and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Latin America Drug Trafficking.  (2011, February 26).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Latin America Drug Trafficking."  26 February 2011.  Web.  17 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Latin America Drug Trafficking."  February 26, 2011.  Accessed July 17, 2019.