How Did Argentina Become the Newest Drug Trafficking Hub?
When mentioning drug hubs or locales of drug in South American, Argentina was never at the top of this list. Argentina may have been used as a pass through country, making occasional stops along the routine to deport drugs. For the most part Argentina has remained fairly clean and untouched from the drug scene and violence that goes along with it. Not anymore, Argentina is now the newest drug trafficking hub.A recent increase in drug-related problems has exposed Argentina and their structural issues. This includes a spike in trafficking cocaine via Bolivia and Peru to the United States and Europe. These amounts of cocaine and other drugs are mainly being transited through Argentina and are being produced in nearby countries. Although, processing labs were also recently found in Argentina, which adds to the fact that is it becoming the new drug hub.Methamphetamine trade is growing to an all time high as well. Between the years of 2004 and 2008, 48 tons of ephedrine, a chemical used in meth, were imported. Of those 48 tons, only 8 tons were needed to meet the pharmaceutical needs. So what happened with the other 40 tons? Marijuana has also become a problem, with a record of 8.5 tons seized earlier this month.Along with all of the drug trade, comes the violence. The violence has increased in key cities, to an alarming rate. In Rosario, the number of homicides has more than doubled, on a yearly basis. They have gone from 119 homicides in 2010, to a record high of 264 homicides in 2013. In the city of Mendoza, murders increased by 60 percent between 2013 and 2014.There are some key factors that play a major role in Argentina becoming the newest drug trafficking hub. The first factor is the country is a significant drug market. In fact, it is the region’s largest drug market after Brazil. The United Nations Office estimates that Argentina is responsible for 25 percent of cocaine use in Latin America and the Caribbean. With the war on drugs, other areas are being heavily targeted, which is pushing all of the activity into Argentina.The second factor is drug trafficking organizations have established a predominate presence in Argentina. These organizations are most notably, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Italy. The third factor is Argentina’s geography. The geography of this country makes it ideal for a smuggling hub. The land border stretches over 5,800 miles, while the coastline is nearly 3,200 miles. With this amount of land and coast, it is nearly impossible to have surveillance in all areas. Which leads to our fourth factor, Argentina does not have the law enforcement necessary to handle this escalating situation. Their equipment is out of date and their technology with radar and other necessary items is not up to par with the rest of the world.The fifth and final factor is corruption. Many leaders and law enforcement in these areas are too corrupt for it to get better. They are enabling the illicit drug trade to flourish, for their own personal gain. Argentina would need a complete reform at this point.
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