Latin American Narco States and the Oligarchs of the World

Oligarchs and Narcos

VICE News recently reported that Peru may quietly be slipping into position as a so-called narco state, where gang and cartel bosses, through officially illegal but undeniably profitable drug businesses, have infiltrated and corrupted institutions within the country. This is part and parcel of a longer trend between this particular region of South America and the United States. Columbia and Peru have been cocaine producing countries for decades. But let's examine a few things in context about the situation and put some perspective on matters, considering history, politics, policy and economics.

The Narco States
So who are the narco states and how did they develop?

Mexico
Present time: 2000-2016. Mexico dominates the drug industry, along with other illegal industries, with a direct route to the United States. The cartels here fight for the "plazas". Plazas are the gateway areas to the United States, mainly large trade and freeway routes, such as the Juarez area leading to El Paso and then on to Dallas via I-35 from Texas and on to Minnesota and the Route to San Diego via Tijuana. Local gangs in the U.S. are the perfect distribution model for the cartels, unfortunately. The cartels in Mexico have taken corruption to a new level and seem to rule the country with an iron fist. Of course, local vigilante groups and mounting pressure from the masses for political change may be complicating the power structure a bit for the Gulf, Los Zetas, Sinaloa, Knight's Templar and Tijuana cartels. The largest market for drugs in the world is the United States. Asia and other European countries also distribute drugs to the U.S., but not at the levels Mexico and South America do. Many of those Eurasian drugs are being modified in the lab to stay ahead of prohibitive laws or are transactional (meaning they are just shipment routes in the distribution chain). Plus, Mexico's drug network and presence is felt worldwide. El Chapo Guzman, a top Sinaloa figure, for example, was listed in the Forbes list of billionaires.

Mexico has capitalized on all areas of the markets for drugs, giving them considerable power. They get drugs into users' hands in both wealthy and poor areas, to people of all cultural backgrounds. They also dabble in many other businesses such as oil, human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and a number of other crimes. They operate much like a mafia-style organization. The various cartel groups work with U.S. gang organizations in cities like Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, Kansas City, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, New York, New Jersey and many other small pockets of America in between. The expansive freeway systems across large swaths of open land in the United States make it an idea place to transport drugs, not to mention a convenient source for weapons/ammunition and the world's largest economy and demand for dope. Police and public officials in Mexico are basically for sale and the U.S. in incarcerating more people (mostly tied to drugs in some way) than any country in the world, particularly minorities and poor people.

South America
Rewind a bit more: 1980s-1990s. South America's entrance to a drug industry was inevitable. Before America had a thirst for cocaine, and later crack, heroin, meth, ecstasy, and new designer drugs that are being developed worldwide, there was already a small but growing local demand for cocaine as a recreational and therapeutic drug in Peru and Columbia. This is well dramatized in the Netflix television drama series, Narcos, a tale about the uprising of the most notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar of Columbia. Escobar built an empire by exporting cocaine to Columbia, but he was introduced to the drug trade. Someone came to him looking for a way to smuggle it from Columbia to another country in South America. But Pablo had a bigger vision. He estimated that if it drew a good price in those countries, just imagine the value in Miami? Escobar quickly used his influence and prior experience with bribing government officials through his smuggling business to consolidate power in the country.

On the other side of the southern U.S. coast, in California, another development was taking place in stark contrast to the publicly stated thesis that the U.S. was waging a "War on Drugs": The CIA was involved or connected with trafficking of cocaine from South America through a point man named Freeway Ricky Ross (not the rapper). Ross developed a strategy in the U.S. local markets on the coast that became a nationwide hit (no pun intended) and so-called epidemic. Ross's ready rock concoction would later be termed by the media and others as crack, part of a "crack epidemic" in America, particularly in impoverished African American neighborhoods, though plenty of Mexican American, Native American, European American (white) and Asian American groups were also effected. Before Ross was incarcerated, he was generating millions of dollars per day in a nationwide crack operation that stretched across 50 states. Ross started his business as a poor adolescent in a South Central Los Angeles ghetto and he was illiterate. He did not know that he was inadvertently funding anti-leftist movements in Latin American countries at the approval and direction of President Ronald Reagan and the CIA.

The Western Oligarchs
There is more evidence and opinion mounting against developed nations as oligarchy nations. This means that there are leaders who create the laws for the subjects (citizens) on behalf of the elite in society rather than to the benefit of the subjects. Many others argue that these western nations, the U.S. being the most obvious and visible, are actually fascist or on their way to becoming so. Just as Latin America's drug Kingpins can invest their money and diversify to bribe, intimidate and control the public and its officials, so too can the western oligarchs. For example, there are some industries and their lobbyist groups and Super PACs that virtually run a political industry in the U.S. and most of the established and popular names in the parties (DFL and GOP side for the U.S. at least) are financed by these corporate behemoths. Essentially, the rich are buying politicians and have been since Citizens United, a controversial supreme court decision that has allowed undisclosed and unlimited campaign finance from corporations who were granted the same rights as individual people. Most Americans disagree with this ruling, as many polls clearly show.

Oil Industry
The oil and petrol industry is a major part, and bargaining chip, of the geo-political game that is part of the global economy and diplomatic relations between many allied or rival countries (sometimes conflicting or overlapping). As part of policies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF - world's reserve currency), all oil priced round the world is in USD (dollars). This lends itself to the term "Petro Dollar", which basically means that this particular industry is tied to the entire planet's economy and many nations' money supplies. The oil and gas industries are able to figuratively pay for legislation, being among the world's most profitable industries for multinational corporations.

The Military Industrial Complex
This is a topic rarely discussed by establishment politicians but legislators such as Ron Paul (R-TX) and his son Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jesse Ventura (?) (former military personnel), Gary Johnson (Libertarian-New Mexico) and several others are voicing their concern with the U.S. and other countries concerted efforts to police the world. It's not just that. Military has simply become business, the same way politics has. There are businesses and companies across the world dedicated to providing more products and services to use in warfare, security and espionage and they have little incentive to see any reduction in militaries or war/conflict. It's big business and they put just as much effort into buying legislation as the oil companies, if not more (since they are intricately connected to several political institutions more directly and incentivize military programs with college and career options, which some have called a federal jobs program and nothing more). Much of the ripple effect from overextension of military intervention has brought the world to some very terrifying realities with more radical groups arming themselves and fighting western powers.

Finance
The worldwide economies have been shaken significantly since the first sign in the breakdown of economic order in the early 2000s. The crash of 2008 was the meltdown of several large financial institutions that were financing and betting on risky mortgages for homeowners across the country who couldn't pay their bills. General Motors and Chrysler were both in trouble. In the case of housing and automobiles, the root causes go back to the finance arms of those companies (mostly in Chryler's case) and financial mismanagement like bad investments (mostly in GM's case). This all hit insurance companies as well. The answer? Milk the taxpayer then pay out bonuses. The politicians would still get their campaign contributions and the central banks would explain it away with nonsensical answers that don't really matter in a congressional hearing because the Fed isn't accountable to anyone and has yet to be audited.

The Justice and Legal System and Prison Industrial Complex
There is a justice system in America, but it largely resembles a corrupt industry, same as politics, energy, finance and military. The courts, bail bonds, legal representation (attorneys), legal services (public and professional), jails, prisons, treatment centers, juvenile facilities and many other related and interconnected groups all have a financial stake in funneling more citizens that have been charge with infractions through their services, which are largely publicly funded but not always in the best interest of the general public. The Center of Public Integrity, United Nations, Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and even many former law enforcement and legal professionals have detailed the growing problems with the judicial and legal system in the U.S. and its devastating effects on all parts of society: political, social, economic, etc.

Big Media and Other Industries
This article mentions some of the big players, but does not nearly cover the spectrum of large industries involved, with organizations such as ALEC, which helps corporations draft model legislation that will help them be more profitable (despite the consequences for working class Americans). The media in the U.S., for example, is nearly all controlled by only six large companies, many of whom are also involved with several other industries not related to media whatsoever. These elements of society are also able to aid in this legal and subtle form of corruption in the system.

Trends in Radicalism and Social Divisionism
It is true that radicalism is having a major global impact on society. It is also true that not all of the radicalism that is being manifested is on the fringes done by terrorist groups. Governments, criminal organizations and others are now being connected to a growing global problem of power consolidation. Socialists and capitalists are now expected to be divided ideals in the context of society and government, even though this is far from reality in both the way society works and the way government works. The average person is usually defined as a moderate, balancing both social and economic issues between government and private life/business. The largest organizations seem to benefit most from these divisions as it is easier to take more of what you want in a room when all the people in the room are fighting over scraps and trivial differences rather than focusing on organizing politically.