The Andean Cocaine Industry

In This Review

The Andean Cocaine Industry

By Patrick L. Clawson and Rensselaer W. Lee, III
St. Martin's Press, 1996
288 pp. $35.00
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A clear-eyed analysis of the Latin American cocaine business. Two longtime observers, Clawson, senior research professor at the National Defense University, and Lee, president of Global Advisory Services, look at how much income cocaine generates, its importance to the Andean economies, and the history and structure of the cartels. They also examine the effects of the cocaine business on Andean societies and politics and ask what can be done. They convincingly dismiss such extreme measures as massive aerial spraying programs -- though technically feasible because of the concentration of the producing areas -- and legalization. They believe that counternarcotics programs need to be refocused or ended and recommend three goals: breaking up trafficking cartels, taking a stand against high-level corruption, and developing the legal economy to reduce traffickers' political clout. They do not underestimate the political obstacles and note that, despite its rhetoric, the U.S. government has never committed much financial support to international drug control efforts. According to the White House's own figures, the $300 million the Clinton administration allocated in 1993 was only six-tenths of one percent of the estimated value of all illegal drugs sold in the United States.