Saturday, May 08, 2010

Drugs in Latin America

Gallup has a new and sobering (no pun intended) poll about drug trafficking within Latin America.  A majority in six countries (Brazil, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina, Panama, and Chile) say there are drug sales in the area where they live.  Those numbers have been climbing every year.  They are the highest by far in Brazil.

Drug consumption has been increasing in Latin America over the past decade.  In large part, this is a perverse result of growing disposable income.  The UN has already noted the high level of illicit drug use in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, the wealthier countries of the region.  We see extremely low numbers in Bolivia, for example, even though it is a producer nation.  Same with Honduras, despite being a major transshipment country.

In part, though, I also think this is related to the growing sophistication of organized crime, which is becoming more successful in creating distribution networks and keeping prices sufficiently low.  As usual, supply and demand are working very nicely together.


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