Saturday, February 23, 2008
Cheap Cocaine Floods Argentina
A highly addictive, smokable cocaine residue called paco has caused a cycle of drug-induced street violence.The scourge underscores a significant shift in both Argentina and its larger neighbor, Brazil, which in just a few years have become sizable cocaine consumers. Brazil now ranks as the second largest consumer of cocaine in the world after the United States, the State Department says. The surge in drug use has been fueled by porous borders, economic hardship and, more recently, the rolling back of restrictions on coca growing since President Evo Morales took office in 2006 in neighboring Bolivia. The result has been the democratization of cocaine in this part of South America, which has become the dumping ground for cheaper, lower-quality cocaine. The challenges to stopping the flow are immense. Fewer than 200 federal police officers patrol Brazil’s 2,100-mile border with Bolivia, though the Brazilian government says reinforcements are on the way. Only 10 percent of Argentina’s airspace is covered by radar, leaving traffickers free rein.http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/23/world/americas/23argentina.html?ex=1361509200&en=aa6a6ae7c5afeb81&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
Alfred Hitchcock's "Foreign Correspondent"