Colombia has been a very unstable country for the past fifty years. Beginning in the
1960s Marxist guerilla groups formed. The two strongest groups called themselves the National
Liberation Army (ELN) and the other was the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC). Making things worse, in the 1970s drug trafficking became a huge problem for
Colombia. Drug cartels pretty much controlled the country starting in the mid-1970s. By the
1990s right-wing paramilitaries had formed. They were made mainly of drug traffickers and
landowners. The main paramilitary group called themselves the United Self Defense Forces of
Since the 1970s, Colombia has been home to some of the most violent and sophisticated
drug trafficking organizations in the world. What started as a small cocaine smuggling business
has, in the last thirty years, blossomed into an enormous multi-national cocaine empire. Starting
in the mid-1970s, marijuana traffickers in Colombia began exporting small quantities of cocaine
to the United States hidden in suitcases. "At that point, cocaine could be processed for $1500 a
kilo in jungle labs and could be sold on the streets of America for as much as $50,000 a kilo"
Today, Colombia supplies up to 80 percent of the world's cocaine, and about 70 percent
of the cocaine that enters the United States. "Production has been steadily rising, it is up 20
percent in the past fifteen years" (Grossman). Illegal crops remain, by far, the most lucrative of
all the agricultural products in Colombia. The narcotics industry accounts for about three
percent of Colombia's gross domestic income.
The majority of the coca leaves are grown on large plantations in southern and central
Colombia, most of which are under the control of large drug cartels. "Recently, coca growers
have burned 2.4 million hectares of rain forest to clear for new areas of cultivation" (Grossman).
Poor peasants are recruited to work the land and harvest illicit crops as their major source of
income. In other cases, the FARC forces farmers to pick coca fields.
With its convenient access to the Caribbean Sea, the Isthmus of Panama, and the Pacific
Ocean, Colombia is well equipped to serve as a major exporter of illicit drugs north towards the
U.S. Highly organized smuggling cartels based in cities like Cali, Medellin, and Bogota arrange
for the export of narcotics by the bulk, primarily to the United States.
Narcotics can be shipped from ports along South America's coastal regions or
transported via ground routes running through Colombia, Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela.
Traffickers use fishing vessels, commercial cargo ships and stealthier speed boats to smuggle
massive amounts of cocaine from Colombia to Central America, Mexico and several Caribbean
countries. From there they make their way to the U.S. mainland.
In the history of Colombian drug cartels there are two names that will most definitely be
acknowledged, the Medellin cartel and the Cali cartel. These are the most notorious groups of
drug traffickers in the history of Colombia, even perhaps in the world.
The Medellin cartel started off with six members. The leader of this group was Pablo
Escobar, the others were Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacho, and brothers Jorge, Fabio and Juan
"Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacho had roots in Colombia's somewhat murky emerald trade.
The Ochoa brothers were from a well respected ranching and horsing family. And the violent
leader, Pablo Escobar, was a common street thief who masterminded the criminal enterprise that
became known as the Medellin cartel" (pbs.org-Cartels).
The men from Medellin joined together with, marijuana smuggler, Carlos Lehder, who
convinced them that they could fly cocaine in small airplanes directly into the United States,
avoiding the need for countless suitcase trips. The large quantities and the growing appetite for
cocaine in the United States led to huge profits, which the cartel began re-investing into more
sophisticated labs, better airplanes and even an island in the Caribbean where the planes could
Violence was an integral part of the operations of the Medellin syndicate from the start.
As the organization grew in size, power and wealth, it also grew in ruthlessness and violence.
After first establishing their dominance on the South American side of the market, in 1978 and
1979 the Medellin drug bosses turned their attention to control the wholesale distribution in the
but little more” (“The drug war
The problem with some people’s lack of
knowledge on this on-
going battle is that it isn’t just some violence at the border; it is a serious
threat to the country as a whole
“Mexican drug cartels have a presence in some 230 U
There have been murders and kidnappings on
this side of the border” (“The drug war next door
The drug wars are occurring everywhere, not just at the border
This puts everyone in danger,and people should have an idea of what kind of danger that is surrounding them
has also recognized it and it’s danger to the U
The Obama Administrationannounced plans for tighter security along the Mexican border yesterday as it voiced fears thatviolence from a growing drugs war would spill over into the United States
” (“US OrdersClampdown…”)
Organized crime groups and drug cartels are not only a threat to the security of a nation, buteveryone in it
“Organized gangs specialize in kidnapping migrants and forcing them to turn over
their money and to work for them or face death
Last year, more than 15,000 people weremurdered in Mexico
Charred remains of Mexican drug wars
They do not discriminatewho, or who not to harm
They kill innocent people for no reason
An example of such a cruel
act of savagery is, “Police have found nine plastic bags and a barrel filled with charred humanremains in Mexico’s northern state of Dur
ango, the latest grim find tied to a drug war that
claimed a record number of lives last month” (“
Charred remains of Mexican drug wars
Theyhave also taken a step forward and have started killing people in the press
Dozens of journalists